Police urge 'extreme caution' on the roads in severe weather

18 January 2018, 10:41

Snow Scotland Jan 2018

Motorists are being urged to drive with "extreme caution" as wintry conditions continue across the country.

Police Scotland have downgraded their advice level to "high risk" after a Met Office amber warning expired at 5am, but said disruption and delays on the roads are still likely.

Dozens of schools across the country are shut due to the weather.

A Met Office yellow "be aware" warning of snow and ice for the west and south of the country was in force until 11am on Thursday.

Police said many people had followed warnings not to travel overnight on Wednesday into Thursday in areas covered by the amber warning.

Superintendent Calum Glenny said: "Despite some difficult weather conditions in the Dumfries and Galloway area which caused some disruption, the weather was not as severe as was first forecast.

"Thankfully, a significant number of motorists heeded the warnings which had been issued to avoid travelling on the roads and I'd like to thank them for doing so.

"Please continue to drive with caution. Drive to the weather conditions, continue to monitor forecasts and keep informed on any changes to road conditions or warnings by following the relevant social media channels."

More than 200 motorists were stranded overnight on the M74 in snowy conditions on Tuesday into Wednesday.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP on Wednesday apologised to those who were stuck.

Speaking on Thursday he said that "by and large" people had obeyed warnings not to travel in affected areas on Wednesday into Thursday.

He said: "The important message this morning is there still is a yellow ice and snow warning out there so conditions will be challenging.

"We're not through the weather yet, there's some challenging weather today and there is going to be challenging weather tomorrow.

"As ice and snow thaws there is of course other issues we have to look out for, that could be more ice, but the possibility of flooding too.

"So the job is not done and we know that we might well have some more challenging weather as winter continues to progress."

Asked if there was confusion between different systems of warnings - the Met Office uses red, amber and yellow while police rank them by stages - and if there was a need for them to be simplified, Mr Yousaf said: "Yes, that is part of the reflection we've been having over the last couple of days."

All schools in the Borders remain closed on Thursday due to the severe weather, while 13 schools and six nurseries in the Highlands are shut.

In South Lanarkshire all schools and nurseries in the Clydesdale area are closed while in North Lanarkshire all prelim examinations scheduled to take place in secondary schools have been postponed.

During the night, temperatures dropped at low as minus 7C (19F) at Loch Glascarnoch while Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway recorded 36cm of lying snow.