Traffic and Schools Hit by Severe Winter Weather
Edinburgh City Council has announced that Edinburgh schools will shut today at noon (Thursday 8 December 2011) due to the severe weather, with gale-force winds forecast later today.
The Council said: "All Edinburgh schools will shut at noon today because of the high winds forecast and the expected severe disruption to travel and transport.
The Scottish Government has issued advice to all local authorities on this which you can see in its news release from this morning: severe weather update."
The Met office has said that weather conditions will deteriorate as the day goes on, in its Red Wind Warning for Lothian and Borders.
"Winds will increase during Thursday morning with severe gales developing across many northern and central parts of the UK, and some particularly damaging storm force winds likely to affect parts of the north, including some major population centres in Scotland.
The risk of disruption is considered highest across central and southern Scotland where the police are advising that conditions for travel will be extremely poor and that travellers are likely to experience significant delays.
Winds should tend to ease from the west on Thursday night with the severe gales becoming confined to NE Scotland by the early hours of Friday.
Heavy rain and hill snow are additional hazards that will accompany the gales."
The Forth Road Bridge is closed to double-deckers and there is a speed limit of 40mph.
Scotrail has announced disruptions of many services from Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Airport said: "We're monitoring the advice from the Met Office closely and working with our partners across the airport to ensure we're well placed to deal with any challenges the weather may bring. Safety is at the heart of any decision making and this may mean some disruption to flights during high winds."
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:"The very latest information from the Met Office's Chief Forecaster which we received shows that we can expect very severe gales, at wind speeds not seen for many years, across large parts of western, central and southern Scotland throughout Thursday."
"On the basis of the earlier 'Red Warning' from the Met Office, some Councils had already taken the precaution of closing schools early to make sure that parents can safely collect children before the most dangerous weather and travel conditions arrive."