Edinburgh weather: Amber alert for ice issued over weekend

FORECASTERS have warned Capital residents to brace themselves for a freezing weekend with blizzards set to batter Scotland on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 7:21 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 8:00 pm
The scene in Falkirk on day three of the so-called 'Beast from the East' Pic: Michael Gillen.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for ice for the central belt, Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, southern parts of Tayside and Fife until Sunday morning, leading to fears transport services will be disrupted on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

Rain, snow and hail looks set to hit the capital on Saturday with Met Office forecasts suggesting a 60-90 per cent chance of the white stuff landing. On Saturday temperature will hover just above 1C, though temperatures could feel as cold as -6C.

Edinburgh City Council transport convener Lesley Macinnes urged people to be “extremely careful” when travelling over the weekend.

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She said: “We make every effort to keep roads and pavements clear of ice but rain can sometimes wash salt away and subsequently freeze.”

She added: “We will work to re-treat these areas as quickly as we can.”

An amber warning for snow is also in place across Stirlingshire, Perthshire, parts of Grampian and the southern Highlands.

Network Rail has drafted in additional snowploughs to help with potential disruption, according to sources.

Following a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room on Friday, Transport Minister Michael Matheson said delays and cancellations on public transport were possible, there could be interruptions to power supplies and telephone networks, and some rural communities may find themselves cut off.

Mr Matheson said: “I would encourage people in the affected areas to consider whether they need to make their journey.

“If they do, they should expect disruption. Drivers should plan their routes, leave plenty of time, follow Police Scotland travel advice and drive to the conditions.”

Superintendent Louise Blakelock, deputy head of road policing for Police Scotland, said: “Freezing rain is highly unusual and is expected to result in the rapid development of widespread ice, which will lead to dangerous travelling conditions.

“I appreciate that many people will be planning Christmas shopping trips this weekend and have festive social events planned with family and friends, however, if you do travel, you are likely to experience significant delays.

“Congestion caused by all vehicles may restrict the emergency services, recovery vehicles, gritters and snowploughs from providing essential assistance or from clearing roads.”