'Do not travel': Amber snow alert as temperatures plummet to -14C

The country faces a third day of school closures and travel disruption amid fresh warnings for snow and ice.

Latest updates
  • More than 200 schools in the north east closed for third day
  • Warnings for snow or ice in place across the whole country on Wednesday and Thursday
  • Scotland sees its coldest night of the year so far after -14C is recorded in Dalwhinnie
  • ScotRail announces travel disruption to a number of services
  • Large parts of the country set to face more snow as a fresh warnings come into force
  • Forecasters announce yellow wind warning for all of Scotland on Sunday with gusts of us to 70mph

Scots are urged not to travel as a Met Office amber alert for heavy snow comes into force amid warnings across the country.

The alert was announced on Wednesday morning for the most northerly parts of the Highlands alongside Orkney and Shetland.

It starts at 3pm and will end at 6pm on Thursday.

Forecasters predict an extra 15 to 20cm of snow meaning power cuts are likely and more remote communities are at risk of being cut off.

Police Scotland is warning of a high risk of disruption.

“Our advice is to plan ahead and consider if your journey is really necessary during this latest spell of severe weather or if it can be delayed until conditions improve,” said chief superintendent Hilary Sloan, head of road policing.

The Met Office said amber warnings present a “potential risk to life”. It became the forecaster’s third new alert of the day.

On Friday, a yellow snow alert will be in place for a large area of the country from Stirling all the way up to the far northern edges of the mainland.

It comes as a further yellow warning for wind will come into force for the whole country on Sunday, bringing gusts of up to 70mph.

It comes after Scotland experienced another bitterly cold night on Tuesday with temperatures dropping to as low as -14c amid a swell of Arctic air.

The entire country will fall under another yellow weather warning on Wednesday with icy and snowy conditions expected until the weekend.

Watch
Watch HM Coastguard helicopter landing amid heavy snow

The Western Isles, the Highlands and the northeast will fall under a snow and ice warning while the central belt and the Scottish Borders will see warnings for ice only.

According to provisional recordings by the Met Office, the mercury fell to as low as -14C in Dalwhinnie on Tuesday while -12.7 was recorded in Tyndrum and -11.3C was found at Tulloch Bridge and Drumnadrochit.

Forecasters had predicted some snow-covered parts of Scotland could reach -15C overnight which would have been the coldest January night for 14 years.

The last time temperatures dropped that low was in January 2010 when -22.3C was recorded.

Temperatures across the UK are about 6C lower than they usually are at this time of year.

Tuesday night marked the coldest night this winter so far, beating the -12.5C daily minimum temperature recorded at Altnaharra in the Highlands on December 3.

More than 40cm of snow could be seen on high ground in north-west Scotland by the end of Friday as it continues to build up over the coming days.

Meanwhile, lower ground in north-west Scotland could see between five and 10cm of snow by the end of the working week.

The bad weather caused hundreds of schools to close on Monday and Tuesday.

More than 200 schools and nurseries in the Highlands and Aberdeenshire will shut for a third day on Wednesday while those that do open may do so later than usual.

All schools in Orkney and Shetland will also remain closed as the areas remain under an amber alert for snow.

You can find information on school closures here for AberdeenAberdeenshireHighlandMoray, and Shetland.

When and where are the weather warnings?

An amber alert for snow will be issued from 3pm on Wednesday until 6pm on Thursday and will cover the following areas:

  • Highland
  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Islands

A yellow alert for snow will cover a large swathe of land on Friday at midnight for 24 hours.

It will cover the following areas:

Central, Tayside & Fife

  • Clackmannanshire
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Stirling

Highlands & Eilean Siar

  • Highland

Strathclyde

  • Argyll and Bute
  • West Dunbartonshire
Snow warnings will continue for another day for large parts of the country.Getty Images

A yellow warning for wind will hit all of Scotland at 6am on Sunday and will end at midnight on the same day.

It will bring with it gusts of up to 70mph in coastal areas and 60mph more inland.

“A period of strong winds and persistent rainfall is expected across parts of the UK during Sunday,” the Met Office said.

“Whilst there is still some uncertainty as to the exact locations which will see the strongest winds, northern and western areas are likely to be most at risk.”

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice began at midnight on Wednesday and won’t end until midnight on Thursday.

The Met Office said frequent heavy snow showers will continue to push inland throughout the day, likely disrupting travel across the region.

There is also a risk that some rural communities could become cut off.

The alert will cover the following areas:

Central, Tayside & Fife

  • Angus
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Stirling

Grampian

  • Aberdeen
  • Aberdeenshire
  • Moray

Highlands & Eilean Siar

  • Eilean Siar
  • Highland

Orkney & Shetland

  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Islands

Strathclyde

  • Argyll and Bute
  • North Ayrshire
  • South Ayrshire
The cold plummeting temperatures are not expected to stop until the weekend when showery weather will take hold.

A yellow warning for ice came into effect at midnight on Wednesday and will end at 12 noon. It will cover:

Central, Tayside & Fife

  • Angus
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Dundee
  • Falkirk
  • Fife
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Stirling

SW Scotland, Lothian Borders

  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • East Lothian
  • Edinburgh
  • Midlothian Council
  • Scottish Borders
  • West Lothian

Strathclyde

  • Argyll and Bute
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Glasgow
  • Inverclyde
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Renfrewshire
  • South Ayrshire
  • South Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire

Thursday

A yellow warning for snow and ice will come into effect at midnight on Thursday and won’t end until midnight on Friday. It will cover:

Central, Tayside & Fife

  • Angus
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Stirling

Grampian

  • Aberdeen
  • Aberdeenshire
  • Moray

Highlands & Eilean Siar

  • Eilean Siar
  • Highland

Orkney & Shetland

  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Islands

SW Scotland, Lothian Borders

  • Dumfries and Galloway

Strathclyde

  • Argyll and Bute
  • East Ayrshire
  • Inverclyde
  • North Ayrshire
  • Renfrewshire
  • South Ayrshire
Cold weather has persisted throughout Scotland since the start of the week.Getty Images

STV weather presenter Philip Petrie said the snow is likely to cause a lot of disruption on the roads.

He said: “Throughout the second half of Wednesday, overnight and throughout Thursday further snow showers will pile in across the northern half of Scotland. Some of these are highly likely to merge together into longer spells of snow.

“This is what has triggered the amber warning to be issued across parts of the north west highlands such as Ullapool, Caithness & Sutherland as well as the Northern Isles.

“These are the parts of the country that have already seen close to 30cm of snow over the past couple of days, and where we expect an additional 5-10cm of snow over the next 48 hours.

  • Lerwick 23cm
  • Altnaharra 18cm
  • Wick 16cm
  • Loch Glascarnoch 14cm
  • Dyce 11cm

“Because of the north westerly airflow direction, this part of the country is currently prone to all these frequent snow showers, and unfortunately it is likely to cause a lot of disruption with roads being closed and some villages being completely shut off.

“This cold spell is expected to last until the weekend – after that, milder air will return and a lot of the snow showers will turn to rain.”

Will my travel be disrupted?

There is major disruption on some ScotRail services including delays and cancellations.

Services affected include:

  • Glasgow – Aberdeen
  • Glasgow – Inverness
  • Glasgow – Lanark
  • Edinburgh – Aberdeen
  • Edinburgh – Inverness
  • Dundee – Arbroath

Difficult conditions through the week for drivers are set to continue into Friday and beyond in many areas.

On Wednesday, Traffic Scotland said all trunk roads are operating as normal on Wednesday but said the A939 Cockbridge to Tomintoul A93 Braemar to Glenshee remain closed.

CalMac said some of its ferries are also facing delays and cancellations.

Transport Scotland said the amber snow alert in the far north of Scotland will cause more disruption for those driving or using public transport.

Minister for transport Fiona Hyslop said: “We know from recent severe weather events that it’s important to plan ahead if you are looking to travel. With the Met Office issuing an updated amber warning for snow in the North Highlands and Northern Isles, travel planning becomes vital.

“Police Scotland is warning of a high risk of disruption for the parts of the country covered by the amber warning, but yellow warnings can also be impactful and cause delays. Please allow extra time for your journey and consider if it can be delayed until conditions have improved.”

Live information on Scotland’s roads can be accessed at www.traffic.gov.scot.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code