Schools closed and roads affected as snow hits Scotland

Whiteout on A697/Pic: Scottish Borders Council
Image caption A Scottish Borders Council plough helps clear the A697 after it was blocked by drifting snow

More than 100 schools have been closed after heavy snow affected parts of Scotland, with whiteout conditions in some areas making driving difficult.

Dozens of schools in the north east, Scottish Borders and West Lothian have been shut, along with some in Angus, Moray and Perth and Kinross.

In the Borders, about 20 HGVs and several cars were stuck for several hours on a stretch of the A697.

Met Office amber alerts warned of snowfalls and gale force winds.

Lothian and Borders Police said the HGVs and cars on the A697 were stuck in snow two miles north of Greenlaw for about six hours from 06:00.

The stretch between Greenlaw and Carfraemill had to be closed while vehicles waited to be freed by snow ploughs. The road is now passable with care.

Drivers have been urged to take care and the Met Office issued warnings which cover Grampian, Central, Tayside and Fife, Strathclyde, South West Scotland and Lothian and Borders.

Inverness Airport's runway had been closed but flights are now arriving and taking off.

Edinburgh Airport said snow teams were working to keep things running as normal, while snow was being cleared from the runway in Aberdeen.

Passengers have been advised to allow extra time for travelling and to check with their airlines.

On the roads in the central belt the snow has been heavy around Livingston and many routes in the north east, Borders, Mid and East Lothian are also only passable with care.

The amber alert lasts until 18:00 on Tuesday.

Image caption Alasdair Sutherland sent this shot of his trip into Edinburgh from a "very snowy" Balerno

At about 20:30 on Monday there was a four-vehicle accident on the M8 motorway, near the Shotts junction on the eastbound carriageway.

Strathclyde Police said snow and ice were to blame. No-one was injured.

The Met Office said: "Strong to gale force easterly winds will drift the snow, especially over high ground where blizzard conditions are expected and could cause further problems in terms of snow clearance.

"Icy stretches will also develop, especially over upland areas, adding to the hazardous conditions."

On Wednesday, the alerts drop to yellow warnings, with snow continuing, but for many areas the main hazard is likely to become ice where wet or slushy surfaces re-freeze.

Tayside Police urged drivers to be prepared for a combination of snow, strong winds, and sub zero temperatures.

Scottish Border Council cancelled its executive meeting on Tuesday morning because of the bad weather.

Transport Scotland said its Multi-Agency Response Team was in operation and urged people to pay attention to travel updates.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "The next 24-48 hours look set to be challenging for our transport networks, commuters and the public.

"We are already doing all we can to ensure Scotland is prepared for disruption."

He added that to date this year, more salt had been used than last winter and new stocks were being delivered regularly.

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