Scotland weather: Plunging temperatures and 'thunder snow' alert for this week

Half of Scotland has been told to brace for disruptive snow showers and lightning strikes this week which could wipe out power supplies.

Half of Scotland has been told to brace for a wintry blast
Half of Scotland has been told to brace for a wintry blast

After snowfall this week in the Highlands, it is now the turn of the Central Belt to feel the bitter snap of winter as we end the first week of the year.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning from midnight on Thursday until 10am on Friday, largely because high areas of population are going to be affected.

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Warm air from the south west is expected to collide with cold winds from the north in the early hours of Friday morning. Where this happens, the phenomenon known as ‘thunder snow’ can develop due to the formation of towering Cumulonimbus clouds, which could produce lightning strikes.

The Met Office said that these have the capacity to knock out power supplies for a time before the wintry weather turns to sleet and rain in the afternoon. Roads and railways will be affected, causing delays and extended journey times.

Areas affected include the Highlands and Islands, Central, Tayside and Fife, south west Scotland, Lothian and Borders and all of Strathclyde, including Glasgow.

Richard Miles of the Met Office said: ”We are finally seeing the kind of weather you would expect in winter.

“We are not expecting very high impacts on Friday but there is sufficient confidence that the day will see extensive wintry showers and ice for Scotland’s metropolitan areas.

“Before then, there will be a hard frost on Wednesday night and it will turn very cold, especially where snow continues to lie. Braemar in Aberdeenshire could get down to Minus 10C, Aberdeen could get down to Mins 3C (26F) and Glasgow Minus 4C (24F).”

Snow and high winds caused problems on the transport network yesterday. At lunch-time, two lanes of the A9 south-bound were blocked a mile south of Inverness when a Co-Op lorry failed to negotiate Drumossie Brae.

A car ended up on its roof on the A832 near Muir of Ord in Inverness-shire and Transport Scotland said heavy snowfall also affected the A87, A82, A95 and the A90.

Stagecoach Highland said it was forced to suspend bus services between Inverness to Whitebridge “due to untreated roads and vehicles blocking the road”.

BEAR south east trunk roads reported a road surface temperature of Minus 5.5C (22F) on the A702 at Abington in South Lanarkshire. High winds affected the Skye Bridge and Dornoch Bridge.

High winds gusting in excess of 50mph caused ferry timetables to turn red, with a string of cancellations on the west coast and the northern links between Orkney and Shetland and the mainland.

CalMac cancelled crossings from Ardrossan to Brodick, Barra to Eriskay, Tayinloan to Gigha, Berneray to Leverburgh and Mallaig to both Lochboisdale and the Small Isles.

NorthLink Ferries called off sailings between Stromness and Scrabster, Aberdeen and Kirkwall and Kirkwall to Lerwick.

Passengers hoping to travel from Lerwick to Aberdeen saw Monday night’s crossing called off due to the weather. Car drivers were asked to check in before 6.30pm last night but the MV Hrossey is not due to arrive in the Granite City until 3pm today, making for a lengthy 20 hours on board.