‘Avoid travel’: Government warns Scots ahead of heavy snow tonight

Heavy snow hits Scotland for the second day causing travel problems, many cars becoming stuck on at Abington Service Station on M74. Picture: SWNS
Heavy snow hits Scotland for the second day causing travel problems, many cars becoming stuck on at Abington Service Station on M74. Picture: SWNS
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People living in parts of Scotland have been urged to avoid travel tonight with heavy snow forecast.

READ MORE - Drivers stranded on M74 overnight as heavy snow hits Scotland

Those in the south of Edinburgh and the Lothians were advised to keep off the roads this evening by Transport Scotland.

Those in Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, North Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire have also been advised to stay off the roads.

The advisory was released by Transport Scotland this afternoon with an amber warning for snow issued by the Met Office.

The warning will be in place from 9pm tonight through to 5am tomorrow morning.

Dolly the Tibetan Terrier at the Braco Castle Lodge park in Perthshire. Picture: PA

Dolly the Tibetan Terrier at the Braco Castle Lodge park in Perthshire. Picture: PA

Yellow warnings for snow and ice remain in place for much of Scotland through to Friday night.

The police travel warning level has been raised to stage four, which means people in the affected areas should avoid travel during the period of the amber warning.

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The decision to raise the alert level was made following an emergency meeting chaired by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

Mr Yoursaf issued an apology to hundreds of drivers who were forced to spend the night in their cars after heavy snow saw them stranded on the M74 in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Firstly, I apologise to road users who were stuck on the M74 last night,” he said.

“It is not a situation anyone should have to experience and that is why we are taking steps to make sure we don’t face similar issues tonight.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to the emergency staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly last night to help the people that were stuck.

“The Met Office has issued an amber warning for snow for much of the south of Scotland tonight and we are very likely to see more very challenging conditions.

“After speaking with all of our partner organisations, the police have decided to raise the travel warning to stage four, which means you should avoid travel in the affected area during the period of the amber warning.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, but it is the safest course of action. We don’t want people to travel during this period and put themselves and others at risk.

“Of course, snow remains an issue for the rest of the country.

“We had 162 gritters out on the trunk road network last night and our winter maintenance fleets continue to work around the clock to treat roads and assist motorists where required.

“Anyone considering travelling by road should check the new Traffic Scotland mobile website - my.trafficscotland.org – for the most up to date information on the move and the @trafficscotland twitter page is updated regularly.

“It’s a similar message for people planning to travel by rail, ferry or plane. Check with the operator ahead of time to find out if your service has been affected by the weather.”

Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of road policing, said: “Weather conditions over the last few days have been extremely challenging and this forecast of even more extreme conditions over the next day or so in these areas mean that we have to advise drivers to avoid travelling, and if they do, to expect severe delays of several hours or more.

“We urge people to think very seriously as to whether their journey is really necessary and is worth the risk, and if they decide they really have to travel, to be fully prepared to be self resilient. If you need medication, for example, ensure you have it with you.

“No-one should ever place themselves at risk on the road and it may be worth considering postponing your journey or making alternative arrangements such as delaying travel until conditions improve or using public transport.”

The grim outlook came after the most widespread snow of the year caused havoc for commuters and caused many schools to close.

Up to 25cm was expected to fall on higher ground and up to 10cm at lower levels by this morning.

Hundreds of drivers were forced to spend the night in their cars after heavy snow saw them stranded on the M74 in Dumfries and Galloway.

Mountain rescue teams were called in to assist those stuck in Dumfries and Galloway due to the adverse weather.

Dumfries and Galloway has seen heavy levels of snow.

A Met Office spokeswoman said there would be gusts of 60mph-70mph “quite widely” and “a small chance of winds reaching 80mph in places”.

The warning will be in force from 9pm tonight until 11am tomorrow.

She said: “Very strong winds will affect parts of the UK during Wednesday night and into Thursday. The strongest winds are expected to transfer eastwards across the warning area before clearing by early afternoon.

“Road, rail and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations.

“There is also a possibility that some bridges may close.

“Power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services such as mobile phone coverage.

“Injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible, along with some damage to buildings.

“In addition, large waves are expected to affect some western coasts with beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.

“The location of the most damaging winds is currently uncertain, although parts of northern and eastern England along with southern Scotland currently look more at risk.

“Along with the strong winds, a spell of heavy rain can also be expected, which could also be combined with a temporary thaw of lying snow in the north.”

There were several minor road collisions in the Highlands and Strathclyde yesterday as motorists faced treacherous driving conditions and gritters were out in force.

Tulloch Bridge near Fort William had among the largest snowfalls, with 8cm.

Drivers were urged to avoid the M8 after long delays during morning rush hour.

Snow and sleet affected many main roads including the A9, M9, M80, A720, M77, A7 and M73.

The A9 at Dalwhinnie was closed for two hours after a lorry jack-knifed close to the snow gates.

In Edinburgh, a driver escaped unhurt after their car skidded off Hermitage Drive and ended up on top of a street sign in Hermitage of Braid.

More than 50 schools and nurseries in the Highlands were closed due to the weather, with more than 3,000 children enjoying a snow day.

Schools in South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway were also affected.

The Met Office said a further 10cm of snow at low levels and 20cm on high ground could fall tomorrow and on Friday.

Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of road policing for Police Scotland, said: “Winter driving is a question of common sense and drivers should ask themselves if they really need to travel when conditions are poor.”

READ MORE - Heavy snow causes closure of all schools in Scottish borders