Scotland's weather and travel: everything we know so far

Emergency services are on stand-by tonight across Scotland as forecasters warned of weather conditions that could pose a 'risk to life'.

The highest level of weather warning was issued for central Scotland by the Met Office, running until 10am tomorrow.

While most workplaces have sent staff home, and hundreds of schools were closed all day, there are still significant issues faced by trying to use the roads, take bus or rail services, or are hoping to fly out from the airports.

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Here’s the latest from official sources on what we know so far.

Red weather warning

Forecasters have taken the rare step of issuing a red weather alert - this is the most serious category available to them, triggering a major emergency response form the authorities.

It means you should take action to “keep yourself and others safe” and that “widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely”.

The current Met Office warning for Central, Tayside & Fife, South West Scotland, Lothian, Borders and Strathclyde reads as follows:

The snow has caused chaos on Scotland's roads

"Heavy snow showers and drifting of lying snow in the strong easterly winds will become more widespread across the area later on Wednesday afternoon, through the evening and overnight into Thursday.

“Roads will become blocked by deep snow, with many stranded vehicles and passengers. Long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel are expected. Some communities could become cut off for several days. Long interruptions to power supplies and other services."

Bosses told to let staff leave early

The Scottish Government called on employers to be flexible in allowing staff to make it home safely following the Red warning.

The snow has caused chaos on Scotland's roads

Most workplaces complied with the guidance and many offices and shops across Scotland closed early today.

Trains cancelled

Operator ScotRail has urged urge people to go home now as it prepares to shut down part of the network by 6pm.

It said there would be no trains in the red warning area around the Central Belt from 6pm until 10am tomorrow.

The closure will cover lines across the Central Belt and other parts of Lothian and the Borders and Strathclyde, and in Fife and Tayside.

Virgin Trains said the cross-border route between Carlisle and Scotland is likely to remain closed until at least lunchtime on Thursday.

There are no replacement buses running and alternative rail routes between England and Scotland are also severely disrupted.

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Scotland's weather: ScotRail to shut lines from 6pm

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has renewed his call for drivers to avoid all but essential travel.

He that this guidance applies to the worst affected areas of Scotland until 6pm on Thursday, when the Met Office amber warning is lifted.

On the roads, a lorry came off the A90 at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire and there have been several accidents elsewhere.

Part of the M74 northbound was closed due to “a number of vehicles losing traction”, although it was later reopened, Traffic Scotland said.

The Forth Road Bridge is closed, so buses have been diverting onto the Queensferry Crossing.

High winds and wintry showers have been making driving conditions difficult on the Tay Road Bridge, which is closed to double-deckers.

The A93 is shut at Braemar, while some B roads in the Banchory area are closed, as are the snow gates at Tomintoul.

Even on some of Scotland’s busiest roads, like the M8 and M80, the conditions were leading to HGVs getting stuck, and gritters were struggling to get through with fresh snow falling.

Some bus operators affected

Lothian Buses services have been running throughout the day, with some diversions in place. They advise passengers to allow more time for journeys.

First Bus are stopping all services in the Greater Glasgow area before 4pm.

Stagecoach East Scotland are withdrawing all services heading west of Dunfermline.

All McGills bus services are suspended for the day.

Flights cancelled

There will be no more flights from Glasgow Airport tonight after snow caused a number of delays and closed the runway.

Aberdeen Airport was also forced to close earlier this morning, although remains partly operational.

Edinburgh Airport issued the following message: “Most airlines have cancelled their operations from Edinburgh Airport today. We remain open, but ask passengers to check with their airline regarding their flight status and do not travel to the airport unless they have a confirmed scheduled flight.”

Glasgow Airport had a similar message: “Due to continued severe weather conditions and the large number of flights which airlines have had to cancel, there will be no further flights to or from Glasgow Airport for the remainder of the day. Further heavy snowfall is forecast and we will provide updates regarding tomorrow’s scheduled services later this evening. Anyone with travel plans should contact their airline directly for specific flight information.”

Aberdeen Airport tweeted: “We have confirmation from British Airways and Flybe that all inbound and outbound flights to/from Aberdeen are cancelled until further notice due to adverse weather. For all other flights, our runway remains open, excluding for essential snow clearing ops.”

Most schools in Scotland will remain closed on Thursday, after hundreds were forced to close today.

Parents are advised to check their local authority websites to find out the relevant information.

• All of Wednesday's Scottish Premiership football games - Celtic v Dundee, Hibernian v Hamilton and Motherwell v Aberdeen - have been postponed.

• Glasgow’s subway will stop running at 7pm.

• All outpatient appointments are cancelled at Borders General Hospital.

• Universities closed include Glasgow, Stirling, Strathclyde and the University of the West of Scotland.

• In addition to the red warning areas, the Met Office warnings for snow are cover many areas of Scotland. The worst-affected areas could see up to 16in (40cm) of snow and a wind chill of minus 10C (14F).