Scotland politics

Snow and wind could hit Scotland's rush hour drivers

Car crushed by wall in Aberdeen
A car was crushed by a storm-damaged wall in Aberdeen

A fresh wave of snow and high winds could lead to disruption for evening rush hour drivers on Tuesday, transport minister Keith Brown has warned.

Forecasts suggest that from 15:00 on Tuesday, winds of 60mph (96km/h) will start in the west and move east.

The warning comes after 80mph (128km/h) gusts hit Scotland last week.

Mr Brown said winds would be "less ferocious" but an "added complication" was that they would bring up to 10cm of snow to ground above 200m.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow in southern Highland, Grampian, Tayside, Fife, Central, Lothian & Borders, Strathclyde and Dumfries & Galloway which is valid from 03:00 on Tuesday for a 24-hour period.

Strong winds and gusts in excess of 60mph are possible through the Central belt.

Heavy snowfalls above 200m could lead to blizzard conditions across higher ground.

That could potentially affect commuter routes such as the M8 around Harthill in North Lanarkshire and the M77 at Fenwick in East Ayrshire.

Last Thursday, the police told people in Scotland not to travel, as winds - which reached as high as 165mph (264km/h) on exposed summits - battered the country, leaving 150,000 people without power.

The Met Office issued its highest warning, a red alert. Hundreds of schools were shut and bridges and roads were closed.

Ahead of Tuesday's bad weather, the police have declared a level three "high risk of disruption for road journeys" warning for some parts.

It has been stressed that different parts of the central belt would be more adversely affected than others.

The public has been asked to keep abreast of the changing situation by tuning in to local radio bulletins and information websites.

Transport Scotland's Multi Agency Response Team (Mart) is liaising with the Met Office, Network Rail and the police to ensure preparations are in place.

Following a meeting of the Scottish government's resilience team, Mr Brown said: "According to the Met Office this week won't be as severe.

"However, the forecast does present another serious test for our systems and lines of communication. We cannot control the weather, and disruption cannot be ruled out, but the wide range of measures taken has paid dividends so far.

"The Met Office are actively monitoring the situation and will update us as the week progresses. I would again urge the public to check radio reports and the Traffic Scotland website for updates."

Mr Brown said the public played its part last week by responding to pleas from the police and Transport Scotland "not to take any chances on the roads".

He added: "That meant less HGVs and fewer incidents for the police to respond to than we would normally expect, following a red level warning from the Met Office and some of the most severe storms to hit Scotland in a decade."

The minister has reported that during last week's storms there were:

  • 110 incidents on the motorway and trunk road network over the course of the storm.
  • a record number of 24 million plus hits on the Traffic Scotland website.
  • 1,542 calls to the Traffic Customer Care line received - an increase of more than 1,500% on the normal daily demand.

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