Hundreds of schools shut as heavy snow brings disruption

Heavy snow is causing disruption across Scotland, forcing hundreds of schools to close and causing difficult driving conditions.

Police are urging people not to travel in the amber weather warning area, which covers much of the country.

A lorry has come off the road on the A90 at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshuire and there have been several minor accidents elsewhere.

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

The weather also affected flights, with Glasgow Airport temporarily suspending operations to clear the runway early in the morning following heavy snowfall.

Stein Connelly, of Transport Scotland, told BBC Radio Scotland: "We're seeing significant weather disruption on the network, we've got all our gritters out and ploughs working right throughout the day, right throughout the night, but we're still seeing significant challenges.

"The police are advising in the amber area don't travel on the roads but we're still seeing busy roads, incidents on them, cars coming off the roads, HGVs blocking and losing traction, and that stops our gritters getting out and on to the roads and keeping it clear, so the message is quite clear - avoid travel on these roads."

Pupils across the country are enjoying a "snow day" with all schools shut in the East Dunbartonshire Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Falkirk Council, Fife Council, Scottish Borders Council, Stirling Council, and East Renfrewshire Council areas.

Glasgow City Council and Renfrewshire Council have closed all schools and nurseries for the day due to the weather, while West Lothian Council has also shut all schools.

In Aberdeenshire more than 120 schools are shut, while the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art (both its Glasgow and Highlands and Islands campuses) are also closed due to the weather.

Forecasters said the entire east coast, central belt and as far west as Greenock will be hit - while the worst-affected areas could see up to 16in (40cm) of snow and a wind chill of minus 10C (14F).

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has said amber alerts for snow and freezing winds from the early hours of Wednesday could be changed to red for extreme weather in certain areas, with motorists urged not to travel.

A red weather warning means a high potential of "widespread damage", travel and power disruption and risk to life.

Met Office advice for such alerts is to "avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities".

As the so-called "Beast from the East" hit Scotland on Tuesday, travel routes saw disruption caused by difficult driving conditions, while some areas had power cuts.

Giving a forecast for Wednesday and Thursday north of the border, Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: "With the snow coming increasingly aligned into bands accompanied by strong winds, there is the risk of blizzards and the risk of really significant snow accumulations building up - 5cm to 10cm (2in-4in) widely (in the amber area) with 15cm to 25cm (6-10in) locally and the potential for the hills to see 40cm (16in) of snowfall building up by the end of Thursday.

"Maximum temperatures on Wednesday will be barely above freezing and adding in that keen easterly wind it will feel more like minus 10C (14F)."

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