People are being urged to avoid travel in the areas affected by the amber warning for snow which will affect parts of Scotland including Lanarkshire over the coming days.
The Met Office has issued an updated amber warning, valid until 6pm tomorrow (Thursday), covering Highland, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, Falkirk, Fife, Perth and Kinross, Stirling, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian, Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire. Yellow warnings for snow will remain in place for much of mainland Scotland into the weekend.
The Met Office Amber Warning states that the impacts could include long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel. Roads may become blocked by deep snow, with many stranded vehicles and passengers. Some rural communities might be cut off for several days. Long interruptions to power supplies and other services such as telephone and mobile phone networks, could occur.
Frequent and heavy snow showers are expected within these areas, and the police are advising people should avoid travel within the amber area. Employers are being asked to consider being as flexible as possible with their staff, and officials have been in contact with the haulage industry to make their members aware of the conditions.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Met Office is telling us that we’re going to see some extremely challenging conditions over the next few days, so I’d urge people follow police advice and to avoid travel in the areas affected by the amber snow warnings.
“Consider if you need to make your journey. If you do set out, you are likely to face disruption and could potentially be stranded, so make sure you are properly prepared with a winter kit, warm clothing, food and drink.
“The Police do not issue advice like this lightly – we are currently sitting at the highest category of amber warning, with the possibility of conditions getting worse, so I’d urge people to heed this advice. The Met Office has extended its amber warning, so these conditions will not just be confined to the east coast.
“Winter maintenance fleets are working 24/7 to treat the trunk road network and will be standing ready to assist motorists if required. We have more gritters available this year than ever before.
“To access the most up to date travel information, you can use the Traffic Scotland mobile website - or follow @trafficscotland on Twitter.
“If you’re planning to travel by rail, ferry or air, please check with your operator ahead of time. It’s inevitable the weather conditions will also impact on other modes of transport.”
Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of Police Scotland’s Road Policing, added: “Police Scotland has established a national command team based at the Area Control Room, Bilston, to co-ordinate our response to severe weather events across the country during the rest of this week.
“We will continue to work very closely with the Met Office and our many partners, and we would urge people who live or intend to visit the regions within the Amber warning area to avoid travelling on the roads unless absolutely necessary. Police Scotland will receive regular updates from the Met Office and will review our travel advice to the public as appropriate.
“If you do choose to travel in the Amber warning area, you are likely to face a high level of disruption on the roads networks with significant delays or even be stranded on the higher and more exposed routes. Even if your vehicle is suitable for severe weather, other travellers may become stuck and the road ahead of you blocked. Please ensure that you (and any passengers) are prepared for and self-resilient in the event that you become stranded - make sure you have warm clothing, food and drink and a winter kit to hand. Please carry a fully charged mobile phone and where possible, the capability to charge your mobile phone.
“Please do not become complacent, regardless of where your journey commences in Scotland as the conditions may worsen as we go through the next few days and people are likely to face high levels of disruption on road journeys. This comes with a high likelihood of the conditions being extremely poor. If you are travelling on the roads, drive with care and to the prevailing conditions - you may drive into sudden blizzard conditions which are particularly hazardous.
“Please ensure you are checking the most up to date information from Traffic Scotland and the Met Office.”