A RED warning is in place for snow in Edinburgh and the Lothians with widespread disruption to travel.
Bus, rail and air services have been crippled, schools will remain shut on Thursday, and some operations at NHS Lothian hospitals have been postponed.
Here’s the latest from our team across the region so far:
WEATHER ALERT - MET OFFICE DUB STORMS A ‘RISK TO LIFE’
Forecasters have taken the rare step of issuing a red weather alert - this is the most serious category available to them, triggering a major emergency response form the authorities.
CITY BUS SERVICES IN CHAOS
The snow has thrown Lothian Buses services into chaos with delays and cancellations making it a nightmare for commuters. The last buses are running from the city centre at 7pm. Services to be reviewed in the morning More here
MINISTERS TELL BOSSES TO LET STAFF LEAVE EARLY
The Scottish Government has called on employers to be flexible in allowing staff to make it home safely before the storms kick in.
Operator Scotrail warned customers to go home as it announced they would be scrapping services overnight.
SCHOOLS TO REMAIN CLOSED
Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian have issued new advice to staff and parents. Latest updates here.
AIRPORT OPEN BUT MOST FLIGHTS CANCELLED
Thousands of passengers set to be left stranded after most airlines cancelled flights to and from Edinburgh. Latest here
HIBS v HAMILTON: DECISION MADE OVER KICK OFF
The severe weather has also put paid to Hibs hopes of taking on Hamilton tonight. Details here.
WHAT IS A RED ALERT?
The Met Office explain what risks are associated with their latest weather advice.
EVERYTHING WE KNOW AT A GLANCE
• The city council announced last night all schools will be closed until further notice. The authority tweeted: “As all City of Edinburgh Council-operated nurseries and primary, secondary and special schools are closed today all school staff should stay at home.”
• The weather also hits bin collections with delays expected in some areas.
• Some public toilets are closed with Colinton and Cramond toilets currently shut.
• Bus services have been suspended for the night.
• Scotrail announced they plan to withdraw all train services from 6pm tonight until 10am tomorrow. A spokesman said: “Severe weather warning. ScotRail services being withdrawn from now. No services between 18.00 Weds - 10.00 Thurs. Remember to check our app or twitter before travelling tomorrow.”
• Edinburgh Airport rmains open but most flights have been cancelled.
• The football is off as Hibs postpone their Premiership tie with Hamilton at Easter Road.
• Edinburgh University announces lectures are off for the day as the institution closes its doors. A University spokesperson said: “In the interests of staff and student safety, and based on the latest advice from the Met Office, we have taken the decision to close the University from 1pm today.”
• Edinburgh Leisure closes all gyms and venues from 2pm today until 10am Thursday. Chief Executive June Peebles says: “The Met Office has issued a red alert ‘severe weather warning’, which is in place until 10am on Thursday 1st March. On this basis, the decision has been made to close all our venues at 2pm today, 28th February. We will continue to monitor the situation and we ask customers to keep checking back on our website www.edinburghleisure.co.uk for details of when we will be re-opening. “We apologise for this disruption to our customers’ normal activities with us – the safety of our customers and staff is paramount.”
• Craigleith Retail Park remains open but some shops opt to close early today, including Nike and Trespass. * Edinburgh College shuts for the days and sends students home.
• On the lighter side, families seek to make the most of conditions and take to the Pentlands for a spot of winter sledging * Police, meanwhile, confirmed all non-essential staff have been allowed to go home. Assistant Chief Constable Nelson Telfer said: “Non-essential staff are being allowed to leave work early at the discretion of divisional commanders and departmental heads, dependent on local conditions.”
• Tomorrow night’s Scottish Property Awards 2018 at the Glasgow Hilton were postponed, with organisers saying the decision was taken “in the interests of the safety of our guests and while serious weather conditions are forecast to severely impact on our ability to deliver a first class event.” They apologised for any inconvenience and assured a rescheduled date at the same venue will be announced as soon as available.
• The Scottish Government repeated police advice not to travel in red weather alert areas.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This is the first red warning that has been issued for snow under the current system which means that conditions in affected areas will be extremely treacherous.
“I would urge people to follow police advice and avoid travel in those areas affected by the red and amber warnings. We recognise it will have an impact on people travelling to and from work over the next 24 hours and so I would encourage employers to be as flexible as possible with their staff.
“If you need to travel, your journey is likely to be disrupted and in many instances there may be cancellations, there is the possibility you could be stranded and this could interfere with emergency services and those clearing the roads. I would urge parents to continue to check school notices with their local authorities before making any decisions on travel.
“In these severe conditions I would also encourage people where possible to check in with elderly neighbours or anyone who may be particularly vulnerable.
“Winter maintenance fleets are working 24/7 to treat the trunk road network and will be standing ready to assist motorists if required. We have more gritters available this year than ever before.”
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