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EDITIONS
Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 15:37 GMT
Blizzards spark travel chaos
Snow plough
Much of the UK has been gripped by cold weather
Blizzards have caused major chaos on a number of roads in the Highlands.

Police had to lead hundreds of drivers to safety after they were trapped in their cars.

Some were stuck for more than five hours in a 12-mile tailback on the A90 south of Stonehaven.

Grampian Police said the conditions were so bad that even snow ploughs and gritters were out of action.

Snow plough
Snow ploughs have been out in force

As well as travel problems, all schools in Orkney were closed for the day and in the north east the white-out conditions saw more than 120 schools shut.

Bad weather also led to the closure of 17 schools in the Highlands, including 11 in Caithness.

The A92 Stonehaven to Inverbervie road and the A939 Cock Bridge to Tomintoul route at the Lecht were closed.

Road crews were working to clear the worst affected areas.

A Grampian Police spokesman said: "The weather is causing the usual problems for motorists.

"Ploughs are clearing routes but snow is drifting back over some roads as soon as they pass through."

Although more snow has been forecast, northerly winds are set to turn more westerly overnight bringing more snow turning to rain.

Aberdeenshire Council has opened telephone line for information on temporary school closures. The number is 0870 054 4999.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Colin Wight
"Even snow ploughs got into difficulties."
See also:

30 Jan 03 | UK
29 Jan 03 | UK
15 Jan 03 | Scotland
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