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BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay reports
"The M8, Scotland's busiest motorway, has been closed"
 real 56k

The BBC's Huw Williams
"Along the M8 the warning signs are up"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 01:33 GMT
Driver dies in severe weather
Drivers stuck westbound on the M8
Hundreds have been stranded on the M8
A man was killed in extreme weather conditions on Tuesday afternoon after his lorry went over the parapet on the M90 in Fife.

The lorry was leaving the motorway at the Halbeath junction in snow bound conditions when the accident happened.

Fife police said that junction 2A on the M90 is blocked northbound.

The extreme conditions caused chaos across most of Scotland with blocked roads, closed schools and disrupted power supplies continuing throughout Tuesday.

Army help family into jeep
The army has been helping take travellers to safety
As many as 100,000 people have had their electricity supplies cut after a night of heavy snow and high winds.

The worst affected areas are Fife, Lothian and the Borders.

About 400 Scottish Power engineers were working to restore supplies on Tuesday, but they are being hampered by the conditions and access problems.

A spokesman said: "The big problem we are having at the moment is actually getting our engineers out to some of the areas which are affected because of the state of the roads."

Scottish Hydro-Electric, which covers the north of the country, said around 4,300 customers were off-supply.

Motorists stranded

A spokesman said: "We are hoping to get all our customers back on supply by the end of the day, that's the intention at the moment."

The M8, Scotland's busiest motorway, was blocked completely for more than 12 hours, with hundreds of motorists stranded in their cars.

Sections of the M74 motorway, one of the main routes into England, were also closed, along with parts of the A1.

Village hall in Whiterashes, Aberdeenshire
Some were forced to seek refuge in this village hall
In some parts of the country motorists were stranded overnight, and 35 people were rescued from their vehicles by police after getting stuck on the A947 in Aberdeenshire.

The rescued motorists spent the night in Whiterashes Village Hall.

One said: "Terrible, terrible. I've never seen snow like it in my life."

Another said: "I've only just returned to work after maternity leave and it is heart-wrenching.

"I just want to get home."

Snow ploughs stranded

On the M8, traffic started backing up in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a lorry jack-knifed.

There was no way through for cars or lorries, with even snow ploughs stranded in the queues.

One snow plough driver said: "It has been pretty horrendous. Ever since I worked with the council I've never seen winter like this."

children in car
This family was stuck from 0400GMT in their car
Sue Pearson, who became stranded with a friend and two young children, said: "I think we kept thinking - someone's going to come - so we kept feeling it was going to be ok.

"Now I could scream. Well, I have. I just feel like crying because it is just like we want to get home. We're hungry, we're tired and we're cold and we haven't got any fuel."

They were eventually taken to safety after soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders stepped into help.

Lance Corporal Stephen Moodie said: "It's been an absolute nightmare. It was about six o'clock when we left Edinburgh.

"We had reports of a woman stranded in a Ford Escort. We cut through the traffic to try and get hold of her."

Perth road closed

"We're going to try and help her in any way we can."

By 1300GMT, traffic on the eastbound lane was moving slowly, although westbound traffic was still at a standstill.

In Ross-shire, the Aultguish Inn, on the south side of Loch Glascarnoch, had an unexpectedly busy time catering for around 40 stranded motorists.

< Owner Richard Sys said: "The snow gates are located right outside the inn, so they can get as far as us and no further."

M74 traffic at a standstill
The M74 has also been blocked
He said there had been a similar situation during the last heavy snowfall a few weeks ago and added: "We are the last on the line, so people inevitably end up here."

Tayside Police said the A9 Glasgow to Perth road was closed just north of Dunblane due to a jack-knifed lorry and between Netherton and Blackford where heavy good vehicles had become stuck in the snow.

The A92 at Lower Northwaterbridge was also closed due to stranded HGVs.

Train and air travel has also been affected, while schools have been forced to close and some hospital staff unable to make it into work.

Business leaders have also been warning that they are suffering as workers are forced to stay in their homes.

Forecasters said the worst of the snow had passed but the problem over the coming days would be high winds whipping up fresh drifts.

Other weather related problems include:

  • More than five hundred schools across Scotland are closed.

  • Law Hospital in Lanarkshire has been cut off, and the night shift staff had to continue working to cover for dayshift workers unable to get through the snow. Routine work has been cancelled to let staff deal with emergencies.

  • Both Virgin and GNER have been advising rail passengers not to attempt cross-border journeys, and a commuter train from Kilmarnock to Glasgow has become stuck in a snowdrift.

  • Passengers at Edinburgh Airport have been experiencing delays after snow closed the runway for a time.

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See also:

27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Motorists driven mad by the snow
27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Details of Scotland's weather woes
27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Snow problems: Scotland in pictures
27 Feb 01 | UK
UK braced for freeze
26 Feb 01 | Scotland
Cold snaps at Scotland yet again
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