Amber snow warning - Wednesday 17 January

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Transport in the north of Scotland is expected to be disrupted following an updated amber warning for snow in the far north of Scotland from the Met Office, in addition to the continued yellow warning for snow and ice.

The amber warning for snow covers parts of the North Highlands and the Northern Isles and will be in place from 3pm this afternoon until 6pm tomorrow evening. A yellow warning for snow and ice remains in place for large parts of the country throughout today and tomorrow, whilst temperatures will remain low for the whole of Scotland.

Police Scotland is warning of a high risk of disruption in the area affected by the amber warning. The forecast weather is likely to impact driving conditions, so motorists are being urged to check their route is passable before they travel, to plan ahead, and allow extra time for journeys where necessary. If you are planning to travel by rail, air or ferry, please check with your operator to see if your journey will be impacted.

The Multi Agency Response Team continues to monitor the trunk road network at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre (TSNCC) in South Queensferry and the Scottish Government Resilience Room is standing up to ensure Ministers are kept up to date on developments.

Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop said:

“We know from recent severe weather events that it’s important to plan ahead if you are looking to travel. With the Met Office issuing an updated amber warning for snow in the North Highlands and Northern Isles, travel planning becomes vital.

“Police Scotland is warning of a high risk of disruption for the parts of the country covered by the amber warning, but yellow warnings can also be impactful and cause delays. Please allow extra time for your journey and consider if it can be delayed until conditions have improved.

“Winter resilience plans have been in full effect with teams across Scotland working overnight to grit the trunk road network for essential journeys. Local roads may also be impacted, so please make sure your route is available, follow the travel advice from Police Scotland and drive to the conditions.

“The latest information on the trunk road network is always available at If you are planning to travel by train, ferry or plane, please check with your operators as the forecast conditions could also impact your services.”

Operating Companies continue to carry out treatments, mobilise equipment, and have plenty of salt supplies in stock. Gritters can be also be tracked on the Traffic Scotland website:

Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, Police Scotland’s Head of Road Policing, said:

“Our advice is to plan ahead and consider if your journey is really necessary during this latest spell of severe weather or if it can be delayed until conditions improve. If you absolutely have to travel, please drive to the conditions, be prepared for delays and allow extra time for your journey. Please don’t drive through road closures, the decision to close roads is not taken lightly and is done for public safety.” 

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Jason Kelly said:

“With deep snow already lying on the ground for many in Scotland, we’re going to see a significant topping up of totals over the next couple of days, especially for those in the north of Scotland.  

“Within the Amber warning area, an additional 15-20cm of snow is possible in a few locations. Strengthening north-westerly winds will also cause some lying snow to drift, potentially bringing some additional hazards, such as temporary blizzard conditions.”  

Published 17 Jan 2024