Midlothian’s weather is now so severe that there is a ‘likely’ risk to life, after the Met Office upgraded their weather warnings for snow to Red, the highest possible rating.
An amber warning was already in place for much of the country, with the East and Central belt suffering the ill-effects of the so-called ‘beast from the east’ blast of Siberian cold air. From this afternoon, that is now upgraded to Red for much of the central belt of Scotland and the East, including Midlothian.
All schools across the county today are closed and bin collections have been cancelled.
The red weather warning means that extreme conditions are expected and immediate action should be taken, with many workers across the county sent home this afternoon.
And Scotrail is urging commuters to go home now, as it plans to start shutting down its network from 2pm today.
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.”
It also warned of “long interruptions to power supplies and other services”.
NHS 24 is advising people to take a few simple steps to stay well during this blast of wintry weather and what to do if illness does strike. With a red weather warning issued for the bulk of central Scotland for later today and up to 10 am Thursday morning, forecasters are warning that the snow and freezing winds will continue to make it extremely difficult and dangerous for people to get out and about in affected areas.
NHS 24’s Medical Director, Dr Laura Ryan advises people to keep warm and stay indoors if possible but if they feel unwell to check NHS 24’s health information service at www.nhsinform.scot : “Because the weather is making it so difficult to get out, we would urge people to check NHS inform if they feel unwell. The advantage of this is that you can get help quickly without going outdoors. The self-help guides for illnesses such as fever, sore throats and diarrhoea can help you decide whether you can manage with self-care at home or you need to talk to a health professional.
“If you do need to visit your GP or local pharmacy you can get contact details from the service directory at www.nhsinform.scot – I would recommend people do this before setting off just to check local services are open. If you are going out make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather.”
The red snow alert is only the second ever issued by the Met Office - with the first covering Wales in 2013.
How are you coping with this severe weather? Send any snow pictures you have to our reporter - firstname.lastname@example.org.