Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Disruption for commuters as snow and wind hit

M74 traffic jam
Image caption Long tailbacks built up on the M74 motorway

Snow and ice have caused disruption to travel networks across Scotland, with school closures also reported.

Wintry conditions are affecting the Highlands, central belt and south of Scotland, making travel difficult in some parts.

Snow and winds of up to 60mph have lasted throughout the day.

The Met Office has issued further warnings for up to 20cm (8in) of snow for higher ground and ice until late on Friday.

Image caption Police temporarily closed the M74 at Lesmahagow because of ice on the road

In the Highlands, 15 schools were closed because of the conditions, affecting more than 400 pupils.

Highland Council said a significant number of routes across the local authority area had been covered in snow and were being gritted according to priority.

The A90 Ferrytoll at the Forth Road Bridge was partially closed at about 18:00 after a lorry was involved in an accident.

One lane of the southbound carriageway had to be closed off near the scene of the lorry crash which shut the bridge on Wednesday. It reopened fully about an hour later.

There have been persistent problems on the M74 in South Lanarkshire after ice and heavy snow affected traffic on the road.

The route was shut southbound at Lesmahagow from 15:40 for an hour following an accident.

The M9 northbound at Bannockburn was closed shortly after 17:00 after an accident, but reopened half an hour later.

Earlier, the southbound A9 was partially blocked after a lorry jack-knifed at Newtonmore shortly before 09:00. The route was also temporarily closed northbound after another truck jack-knifed at about 05:00. It has since reopened.

Have you been affected by the weather conditions? Tell us your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

Image caption Drivers on the A9 faced disruption because of heavy snow affecting the route
Image caption BBC Weatherwatcher Rab took this shot of the snowfall in Pitlochry
Image caption BBC Weatherwatcher Daibhidh sent in this image of traffic in Crieff

In Dumfries and Galloway, local police reported heavy snow falling on the M74 at Lockerbie, while seven schools were shut due to the bad weather - they are expected to reopen on Friday.

In South Lanarkshire, snow also affected many routes, including the A723 between Strathaven to Hamilton.

Jim Fraser, Scottish Borders Council's emergency planning officer, said extra resources were being put in place to manage the severe weather.

He said: "Due to the combination of low temperatures and melting snow, we anticipate that travel conditions on Friday morning will be very difficult, especially on untreated surfaces.

"Our staff will be out from 3.30pm today, with additional resources on throughout the night, to grit routes, and staff will also be deployed from 6am to treat the priority footpath network in addition to roads.

'Working all night'

The weather was also causing treacherous driving conditions in Ayrshire and across Stirlingshire, where local police warned drivers to take extra care on the A84, A81 and A85.

Ferry services were also liable to severe disruption, according to operator Caledonian MacBrayne. Northlink Ferries and Orkney Ferries also warned that disruption was likely.

About 80 flights were also cancelled at Heathrow, affecting travellers in and out of Scotland.

Stein Connolly from Transport Scotland told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme that temperatures had plunged to minus 8.4 overnight leading to 241 gritters being mobilised.

Image copyright Traffic Scotland
Image caption The Forth Road Bridge was closed all day on Wednesday after a lorry was blown over

He said: "People can go on our website and see exactly where the gritters are and you can track the gritters. You can also see what treatments were done overnight.

"Because of these temperatures and because of the Met Office prediction of snow and wind, we've had the multi-agency response team in here working all night in the Traffic Scotland control centre to make sure if there is any incidents we can react to it very quickly."

The Met Office has issued several yellow Be Aware warnings. Lightning may also accompany the heavier showers, with potential disruption to power supplies.

There is also a risk of snow drifts on higher routes on Thursday and Friday.

Snow gates were closed on the A939 between Tomintoul and Cock Bridge.

The Forth Road Bridge, which connects Edinburgh and Fife, was closed all day on Wednesday after a lorry was blown over and damaged the central reservation.

The bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles at the time of the accident and the 54-year-old driver was charged with dangerous driving by Police Scotland.

Check out our snow gallery.

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