A NEW severe weather warning for Scotland has been issued by the Met Office, extending potential disruption due to snow and ice until tomorrow.
BBC weather experts warned they expect the cold snap to last into next week, with -14C possible in some areas of the Highlands on Monday.
The latest weather warning means Scotland has now had alerts in force for ten days in a row. Last night there was widespread chaos in Glasgow after heavy snowfall as eyewitnesses told of cars being abandoned and streets being blocked around the city.
The weather also led to the Scottish Championship match between Rangers and Hearts at Ibrox stadium being abandoned after 25 minutes.
The city council issued a notice warning: “Roads users should be aware heavy snow is affecting most routes throughout Glasgow City. Breakdowns and stranded vehicles are blocking numerous routes. Drive with extreme care.”
Elsewhere, three primary pupils escaped with minor injuries when their school bus slid off an icy road at Uig on Lewis as snow hampered travel again.
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The latest yellow – “be aware” – alert covers the eastern half of the country from 4pm today until 10am tomorrow.
It follows the current yellow warning, for snow and ice across western Scotland, which remains in force until noon today. The warning for the west includes up to 15cm of snow above 300 metres and up to 6cm at lower levels.
The Met Office said: “Showers will feed into most of northern and western Scotland for at least the first part of Saturday. Some of these showers will be heavy with a mixture of hail, sleet and snow. Ice will be an additional hazard on untreated surfaces.
“The public should be aware of the risk of disruption to travel.”
The agency said a further band of sleet and snow showers would reach northern Scotland this evening and spread southwards overnight.
It said: “The showers will be a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow at low levels, giving 1-2cm in places with 5cm possible on higher ground above 150 metres. As the clearer, colder weather follows south overnight, temperatures will fall sharply, leading to a widespread ice risk, lasting well into Sunday morning.”
Two of the pupils injured in the bus crash suffered minor injuries when the vehicle crashed on to a grass verge.
No-one was injured in a similar incident at Torlum on Benbecula. A spokesman for Western Isles Council said all pupils had been wearing seat belts.
Road maintenance firm Bear Scotland yesterday reopened the A889 between Laggan and Dalwhinnie, which had been blocked by 5ft snowdrifts. The firm kept the A9 open despite “very heavy snow” using nine snowploughs and tractors.
A spokesman said staff had worked round the clock “in the most horrendous conditions”.
Roads closed by snow included the A760 between Largs and Kilbirnie in Ayrshire. Flooding affected the A85 at St Fillans, west of Crieff, while high winds made for difficult driving over the Skye and Dornoch bridges. Argyll and Bute Council said the A814 was likely to remain closed for several days after a “substantial” landslide at Finnart, north of Garelochlead.
A train also hit a container blown on to the Wick-Inverness line near Dunrobin.
Meanwhile, a partially-collapsed chimney on a tenement closed part of Byres Road in the west end of Glasgow. Residents of the four-storey tenement and an estate agents on the ground floor were evacuated.
188mph wind record claim for St Kilda
A NEW UK wind speed record may have been set on St Kilda after defence contractor QinetiQ revealed yesterday that gusts had reached 188mph last week.
The current record is 173mph on the summit of Cairn Gorm in 1986, when the last St Kilda record of 165mph was also set.
A spokesman for QinetiQ, which runs a rocket tracking station on the islands, 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, said: “Fifteen employees were safely airlifted off the island on Friday, 9 January as wind speeds of up to 188mph were recorded.
“A recovery plan is under way to restore the site at St Kilda to full working order after unprecedented storms caused damage to buildings and equipment.
“QinetiQ, which operates the site on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, is already working on a strategy to minimise disruption to planned activity.
“We hope the weather will permit our team to return to the island over the next few days so we can carry out a detailed inspection of the damage and begin work on the repairs.”
However, the Met Office said that the speed might not qualify as an official record.
A spokeswoman said that it had to be recorded on properly calibrated equipment, and at an official recording station.
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