Snow alert as big freeze heads for central belt

THE central belt could be hit with snow showers and freezing temperatures today creating hazardous driving conditions for motorists.

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Forecasters said early rain could turn to snow by afternoon, continuing into the evening commute.

Temperatures could also dip as low as -2C tonight with the risk of ice across the central belt.

Some areas of East Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire were affected by snow showers on the journey to work.

Forecasters said there was a risk of one or two inches of snow falling today, even on the lower ground.

Gritters were out around the country and road operator Bear Scotland advised motorists to be ready for winter if they are making a journey.

The A9, A82, A83 and A85 were all hit by snow but remained open.

Gareth Harvey, a forecaster with the Meteogroup, said: "It's turning quite cold this afternoon and we are looking at scattered wintry showers.

"Some of these will be falling as sleet and snow.

"There is a chance of one or two inches of snow with more on the higher ground. Even lower levels will see some sleet.

"The wintry showers will continue into the evening with quite a brisk wind developing.

"Temperatures could fall to around -2C this evening."

The wintry showers will continue tomorrow with strong winds forecast, coming in from the south west.

A spokeswoman for Bear Scotland said: "Conditions are improving over the north west area with all roads running clear, although slushy in places.

"More sleet and snow showers is expected throughout the day, so motorists should continue to drive carefully."

Skiers and climbers were being warned to be aware of a danger created by huge amounts of snow and high winds in Scotland's mountains.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said many people were unaware of the threat of a terrain trap, where avalanched snow accumulates, raising the risk of further snow slides.

Heavy snowfalls over Scotland's mountains have almost buried buildings at ski centres in Glencoe and Nevis Range.

Meanwhile, temperatures rose to 16C (61F) in Sochi yesterday, melting snow and raising fears that the blazing sun could ruin Russia's Winter Olympic Games.

Glorious sunshine was to blame for a hole dug at the top of the women's downhill course as the mercury soared.

caroline.wilson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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