Scotland’s weather: Snow alert increased to amber

A dog walker walks through the Kings Knot area below Stirling Castle  during a snow blizzard. Picture: PA
A dog walker walks through the Kings Knot area below Stirling Castle during a snow blizzard. Picture: PA
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MUCH of Scotland was on amber alert for heavy snow last night, with drivers reporting white-out conditions on some roads.

Up to 15cm (6in) is expected to fall on higher ground, and more than 5cm at lower levels, with police warning motorists of a “high risk” of road disruption.

The “be prepared” severe weather warning remains in force until 11am today, covering inland Scotland away from most coasts.

A yellow – “be aware” – warning also covers the whole country until midnight tonight.

Further snow alerts were issued by the Met Office yesterday for Saturday and Sunday, when yellow warnings will cover northern and western Scotland.

The agency said there would be “large accumulations” in places. A Met Office spokesman said: “Snow showers will become widespread and heavier across Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England during Wednesday evening and continue into Thursday morning.

“Strong and gusty winds will lead to drifting and blizzard conditions at times, especially over higher routes.

“The showers will become a little less frequent during Thursday morning.”

Dozens of gritters and snowploughs worked to keep main routes open yesterday.

Dave McCann, from Killearn, tweeted: “Just driven down A9 from Inverness. Snow blowing off hill causing complete white-out at points. Road just disappears on you.”

Snow blocked the A889 at Dalwhinnie for a time, while police said East Ayrshire was among areas where heavy snow made for “challenging driving conditions”.

Driver Susan Love tweeted: “M74 – horrible, very heavy snow. Really scary.”

Traffic Scotland, the official driver information service, reported difficult conditions on the M77 north of Kilmarnock.

Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing for Police Scotland, said: “We advise motorists to drive with extra caution in what could be very difficult very localised conditions.”

The Forth Road Bridge was closed to double-decker buses yesterday because of strong winds, which also affected the Dornoch, Erskine, Kessock, Skye and Tay Road bridges.

CalMac cancelled ferry sailings on west coast routes including to Arran and Colonsay.

Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “Gritters and patrols are out and we have plenty of salt available, but we would ask people to listen to police advice regarding the high risk of disruption.

“Drivers should check their route is available and leave some extra time for their journeys.”

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “The message to drivers is to plan ahead – then, when out on the road, be on your guard.”

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