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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 18:11 GMT
Severe weather warning in force
Snow plough on the A85 [Pic: Jim Conlin]
Heavy snow fell across parts of the country on Friday
Heavy snow and high winds have hit parts of Scotland, causing a string of accidents and travel disruption.

Northern areas bore the brunt of the storms and a severe weather alert remained in force across the country with heavy winds and 60mph gusts.

Fourteen Spanish crewmen were rescued from a trawler which ran aground in stormy conditions in the Western Isles.

Weather is thought to have contributed to two firefighters breaking their legs when a shed collapsed in Lanarkshire.

Heavy snow continued to fall in the Highlands, causing travel chaos for motorists.

The main route through the region, the A9, was closed for a short time earlier, but has since reopened.

There were numerous reports of lorries and cars getting stuck in drifting snow and stationary vehicles hindering the progress of others.

Several cars were reported to have slid off roads as they attempted to drive through the wintry conditions, but no-one was injured.

If the winds die down, it will be another great day for skiing tomorrow in the Highlands
Rob Hutchinson
MeteoGroup

Northern Constabulary said one motorist got out of his car at Glenfinnan after it came off the road, only to watch the vehicle slide into a loch.

Earlier, the crew of the Spinningdale were winched to safety by a helicopter in a dramatic rescue operation, after their vessel ran aground at St Kilda.

No-one was seriously injured, but one was treated for a cut hand and three for hypothermia.

Several stretches of road were also closed in the north east due to heavy snow drifts.

A stretch of the M74 motorway, in the south west, was closed earlier at junction 14 due to heavy snow, but there were no accidents.

Strong winds meant the Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles and speed restrictions were put in place.

All restrictions have been lifted on the Erskine and Tay bridges.

Ice warning

Ferry and air passengers are also facing further disruption, with some services having been cancelled.

Passengers have been advised to check with their ferry operators.

About 300 households were without electricity around Dumfries, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire.

Warnings of blizzards remained in place in the Highlands, the north east, and the south west, with warnings of ice on the roads in central Scotland.

However, forecasters predicted the storm would drift away from Scotland, focusing more on England, where it was already causing problems in northern parts.

Rob Hutchinson, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "The snow is still falling around the Highlands, but it seems to be clearing from Scotland, and heading towards northern England where it is causing problems."

But he said the dark storm clouds might have a silver lining.

"It could lead to another great day for skiing tomorrow in the Highlands," he said.

"If the winds die down, there will be great snow."


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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Wintry weather brings avalanche warning



SEE ALSO
Snow team watching for avalanches
01 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Firemen hurt in garage collapse
01 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
High winds push trawler aground
01 Feb 08 |  Highlands and Islands
High winds cause travel problems
31 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Hundreds of homes without power
31 Jan 08 |  South of Scotland

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