Weather warning moves up to red

The A697 road closed due to snow at Caffraemill today
The A697 road closed due to snow at Caffraemill today

A red weather warning has now been issued for the Borders and central belt and both Transport Scotland and Police Scotland are telling people not to travel.

Many minor roads across Berwickshire are impassable and so far Scottish Borders Council has reported that the A697 is closed between Carfraemill and Greenlaw, as is the B6364 between Greenlaw and Kelso, as well as the A1 at Alnwick.

Duns library/contact centre has closed early and all SBC refuse collection services have been postponed and council recycling centres closed.

Urging people to stay off the roads, Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of Road Policing said: “The Met Office has now increased the weather warning to red, the first time this has occurred for snow storms.

“We can’t stress enough that all travel should be avoided unless it’s essential being absolutely necessary and extremely important.

“Police Scotland’s national Multi Agency Command Centre, is co-ordinating our emergency response across all Local Policing Divisions in Scotland and will continue to do throughout the next 48 hours.”

The red weather warning means that extreme conditions are expected and immediate action should be taken.

The forecast from the Met Office, which lasts until 10am on Thursday, said: “Roads will become blocked by deep snow, with many stranded vehicles and passengers.

“Long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel are expected [and] some communities could become cut off for several days.”

Employers are being asked to consider being as flexible as possible with their staff, and officials have been in contact with the haulage industry to make their members aware of the conditions.

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.

“To access the most up to date travel information, you can use the Traffic Scotland mobile website - my.trafficscotland.org - or the @trafficscotland twitter page. If you’re planning to travel by rail, ferry or air, please check with your operator ahead of time. It’s inevitable the weather conditions will also impact on other modes of transport.”