Airports Close Again to Clear Snow

Submitted by edg on Mon, 6 Dec '10 5.39pm

Heavy snowfalls have grounded planes at both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports again today.

Edinburgh struggled throughout last week to keep the airport open for more than a few hours at a time due to the heavy snowfall. The airport opened on Friday for a full day and was open through the weekend although weather conditions around Europe and the Spanish air traffic dispute caused some flight cancellations.

"We're open. Edinburgh has forecasts of snow sometime this morning, check with your airline re any delays," Edinburgh Airport tweeted at 7am today.

Then the snow started falling.

By 10am the airport was closed again: "Edinburgh Airport is closed until 14:00, with further update at 12:00."

That turned out to be an optimistic forecast. Deteriorating weather conditions meant that the Airport did not re-open until 6pm.

While the East Coast has borne the brunt of the snow storm, Glasgow Airport has also had to close "for essential snow clearing operations."

The airport was open again early this afternoon.

Caught by surprise...again

Meanwhile, on the roads and railways it was a familiar story of disruption and gridlock. The situation was aggravated by a general sense that the worst was over, after slightly milder weather over the weekend.

The Forth Road bridge had to close its Southbound lane due to a jack-knifed lorry in the early afternoon. Police started turning back southbound traffic on the M90 after it became gridlocked.

Motorists on the M8 reported that the average speed had reduced to 1 mile an hour, with some stopping to make snow men on the side of the road. Many complained that there had been no sign of police or gritting machines after several hours.

In the city, Lothian Buses stopped all its services as snow gathered on the roads.

"Unfortunately due to the severity of the bad weather, there will be an interruption to all of our services. We hope to restore services soon," it tweeted around 12.30pm. The bus company started reintroducing services a few hours later, and with the snowfall having allayed by the evening, routes were gradually being restored.

Don't leave home without one

Police have been asking motorists to avoid unnecessary journeys.

'If people have to drive, then we advise that they make sure their car is fit for travel and well equipped for the weather," said a spokesman for Lothian and Borders.

'In addition to warm clothing, people should also make sure that they have a shovel in their vehicle so that they can dig their way out of the snow if they become stuck."

Edinburgh trains, which had been straining due to the freezing weather, also continue to experience delays and cancellations to services, particurlarly services to the North of Scotland.

Schools and nurseries

The Scottish government put out a press release this morning saying 90 per cent of Scotland's schools are expected to open today. However, as weather and road conditions deteriorated, local schools were advising parents that they may want to pick up children early from school. Edinburgh City Council said it is monitoring the situation.

As schools, businesses, and even shops starting shutting down, city centre roads became gridlocked, drawing out even very short journeys.

"Treacherous conditions" tonight

The skies may be clear now, but the deep freeze has set in with temperatures forecast to drop to -6C tonight. As snow turns to ice, people are being advised to travel carefully.

Snow and ice is forecast for later this week.

Edinburgh Transport

Severe Weather updates