Disruption as heavy snow falls hit Scotland

Heavy snow falls have been causing disruption as wintry conditions sweep across large swathes of Scotland.

Traffic between Scotland and England has been affected, with lanes on the M74 southbound in Lanarkshire closed between J12 Millbank and J13 Abington.

Traffic Scotland said gritters were working to make the motorway safe enough to fully re-open. Police advised motorists to avoid the area.

Some drivers complained of being stuck in traffic for several hours.

On the Isle of Skye, the main road - the A87- was blocked for several hours in both directions by a jack-knifed lorry.

The closure meant two school buses with pupils who had been stuck for hours had to return Portree High. The school said they would be put in temporary accommodation for the night.

The Met Office has issued an amber alert for south west Scotland, extending to parts of the central belt, lasting until Wednesday morning. Thundersnow was also forecast in the west.

Earlier on Tuesday evening, all three lanes on the M74 at Millbank were closed but one has since re-opened. Police advised drivers to follow the gritter and said the delays would take some time to clear.

Motorist Nigel Cliff, who was heading south, told BBC Scotland at about 19:00 that he had been stationary on the motorway for about an hour and a half.

"It's pretty rough," he said. "It's snowing again now so it is probably only going to get worse. There are cars and lorries just sitting here - nothing moving."

Mr Cliff said he was prepared for the conditions: "I've got food. I've got big thick coats, big thick socks. My wife always makes sure I've got everything in the car."

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf tweeted that a number of HGVs had "lost traction with challenging weather impacting on M74".

He added: "Necessary to close the junction to get additional gritters and equipment to the scene."

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Police Scotland said anyone taking to the roads in the worst affected areas was "highly likely" to experience disruption, and urged drivers to consider carefully if the journey was necessary.

A Multi Agency Response Team (Mart) is now operational to monitor conditions. The deputy first minister and transport minister also chaired a meeting of the Scottish government's resilience operation to receive an update on the situation.

Skip Twitter post by @HumzaYousaf

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "The Met Office has upgraded its snow warning for parts of south west and central Scotland, with the areas affected by the amber warning set to see heavier snowfalls and greater disruption to transport.

"The snow and ice is likely to lead to difficult driving conditions, so I'd urge all travellers to take extra time and plan their journeys in advance. The high winds forecast for later in the week may also see some bridge restrictions."

The Met Office amber "be prepared" warning - which means transport and power supplies may be disrupted with a potential risk to lives and property - was issued from 15:00 on Tuesday until 08:00 on Wednesday and also extends across much of Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said crews had attended 12 crashes as a direct result of the poor conditions and at least 13 schools were closed.


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