Scotland’s weather: Travellers face chaos as freeze continues

Stranded travellers at Heathrow yesterday. Picture: Getty
Stranded travellers at Heathrow yesterday. Picture: Getty
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TRAVEL was disrupted across the country yesterday amid forecasts of continuing snow and freezing conditions.

Heathrow Airport reduced its flight timetable by 20 per cent yesterday, with around 260 flights cancelled due to forecasts for more snow and low visibility.

Britain’s busiest airport was described as being like a “refugee camp” as more than 100 flights were cancelled, affecting flights in and out of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen among others.

In Scotland, several roads were closed because of snow and ice, including the A93 between Blairgowrie and Lair, the Duke’s Pass between Aberfoyle and Brig o’ Turk, and the A939 between Tomintoul and Cock Bridge.

The Met Office warned that a band of snow would affect eastern parts of England and Scotland today, with up to 5cm of snow expected inland and up to 10cm possible in areas above 200 metres.

Yesterday, there were angry scenes at Heathrow as travellers had to sleep on floors for a second day after flights were hit by the weather.

Heathrow defended its decision to reduce its timetable, saying that when there is low visibility, more space has to be left between aircraft.

It said details of which flights were to be cancelled would be announced by airlines once they had finalised their schedules and urged passengers to check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport.

The airport also warned that weather conditions at other European airports could increase the number of cancellations.

Train services across the country were also affected yesterday, with Virgin Trains cancelling a number of trains from London to Birmingham and Manchester, South West Trains running an amended timetable and London-Midland trains experiencing delays of up to 30 minutes.

Speed restrictions on Eurostar services between the UK and France because of snow and ice caused delays to all trains yesterday.

Services between London St Pancras and Brussels Midi were also hit by cancellations.

The freezing temperatures also caused problems on the roads, with the RAC saying it had dealt with nearly 9,000 breakdowns – 10 per cent more than usual.

In the east, central regions and the south-west of Scotland, further wintery showers today will lead to accumulations of snow away from the immediate coastal strip, with ice an additional hazard. A further 2cm to 6cm of snow could fall in a few areas.

In Strathclyde, the focus will be on ice, with near or sub- zero temperatures persisting quite widely.

A band of rain, sleet and snow will continue to affect eastern and north-eastern England and eastern Scotland tomorrow. Showers in the west will be lighter and patchier, and the north-west will largely enjoy a dry day.