A SLEEPLESS NIGHT for many in Moray caused by the arrival of high winds and rain is just a prelude to the trouble that awaits over the next three days.
The region is on course to be hit by further storms as the Scottish Government Resilience Team have already met to plan action required to ensure the essential services are ready to meet the challenge.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney chaired the meeting on Tuesday alongside transport minister Humza Yousaf as they laid plans for all transport and utilities – although they stressed that the risk of flooding is currently minimal.
Forecasters say that most parts of the country will face difficult driving conditions with a risk of snow drifts on higher ground likely.
Following the meeting Mr Yousaf said: “We will be seeing cold and windy conditions over the next few days and plans are in place to help us do all we can to mitigate the impact of the snow and gale force winds.
“The transport network is likely to be the first sector affected by strong winds on Wednesday with possibility of HGV restrictions on bridges. Our winter treatments will be carried-out across the period with patrols out where required. We have more gritters available than before and salt is in plentiful supply.
“Key routes will be monitored through our network of weather stations and live cameras and the Traffic Scotland National Traffic Control Centre will take all of this information and send it out to road users through the website and Traffic Scotland twitter feed on a 24/7 basis.
“We would ask that people keep the conditions in mind when they are making their travel plans and leave plenty of time. We are making as much information available as possible to allow the public to make informed decisions.
“The winter treatments page on the Traffic Scotland website has details of which routes are being treated and our Trunk Road Gritter Tracker lets road users see where gritters have been out in the last 24 hours.
“Travel operators websites will have all of the relevant information on ferries, rail and air and Traffic Scotland has a webpage with all of these links. The advice is to check before travel to make sure that you get to your destination safely.”
Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston, Head of Road Policing, added: “With a risk of weather-related disruption for the remainder of the working week, motorists should bear in mind the risk of potentially hazardous driving conditions to come.
“If you are traveling, please ensure your vehicle is well prepared before setting off; making sure your windscreens are completely free of snow and ice; ensure your number plate is clear; and your lights are working and clean.
“Motorists should adapt their driving to suit road conditions, as well as the behaviour of other road users, including leaving more space between vehicles. Road Policing crews will be patrolling the trunk roads and other priority routes to keep people safe during this period – please follow our advice and travel with caution.”
The updated warning from the Met Office from today said: “Very windy weather with gusts to 70mph or more may affect the far northwest and north of Scotland overnight. After a brief lull winds will increase during Wednesday afternoon and evening, accompanied by increasingly wintry showers.
“By evening several cm of snow will begin to accumulate away from western coasts, especially over higher ground. In combination with gale force winds, gusting up to 65 mph near showers, travel conditions will start to turn very tricky, resulting in longer travel times.”