Weather: Snow and freezing temperatures to return

Amy McGilllivray battles her way along a stormy Rose Street this morning
Amy McGilllivray battles her way along a stormy Rose Street this morning
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High winds, snow and freezing temperatures are expected to return to Scotland today.

The Lothians had a wet and wild start to the day and dropping temperatures who bring snow and blizzards later across most of the country.

Falling temperatures are also expected to turn persistent showers to snow by the afternoon, causing a covering of the snow across large parts of the country.

The Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” weather warnings for many regions including Central, Tayside Grampian, Strathclyde and the Highlands.

James Wilby, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “Heavy squally showers will start moving into the west in the early hours along with hailstones and thunder in places.

“The showers will quite likely turn to snow by the afternoon as temperatures stay low and on higher ground and in the north-west Highlands there could be as much as 20 or 30cm of snow but it should fall across the country, even in lower parts, without causing major problems.

“Strong gusts will accompany the showers, particularly along the west coast and islands where there is potential to reach 70mph. The east of the country can expect winds of between 40 and 45mph.

“Wintry weather looks likely to remain for the most part of the week but gusts will die down from Tuesday with maximum 40 to 50mph winds, and they are likely to be affecting the northern coastline.” Roads and schools were closed, ferries cancelled and some Western Isles homes damaged by the high winds last week.

While some suffered disruption, the strong gales were good news for the renewable energy sector as ScottishPower produced record amounts of electricity at its 28 wind farms.

Between January 25 and 31 more than 135 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity was produced, enough to power 1.6 million homes in an average week, the company said.

Chief executive Keith Anderson said: “Wind energy continues to make an increasingly important contribution to the UK’s overall electricity needs. In this last week we have seen power generated from wind at record highs, with our own wind power production alone meeting the electricity demands of two-thirds of all the homes in Scotland.Although wind power production will not always be this high, its value as a sustainable form of electricity generation is undeniable. Wind is a source of power that will never run out, as a fuel source it has no costs, and the electricity created has no carbon emissions.”

Scottish Power said the windfarms were working at 70 per cent capacity during the record week 70 per cent, peaking at 85 per cent for a short period.