Snow forces all schools in isles to close on Monday

All schools in Shetland were closed on Monday due to the snowy weather. With mixed forecasts, head of schools service Helen Budge said no decision had yet been taken on whether to close on Tuesday, the final day of term. That was likely to reviewed later on Monday.

The snow has also put paid to the Anderson High School’s senior beanfeast, which was due to take place on Monday evening. Three hundred fifth and sixth year pupils were due to attend but head teacher Valerie Nicolson said they had decided to rearrange the beanfeast for Frida,y 15th January.

Meanwhile, flights in and out of Sumburgh were disrupted on Saturday and Sunday, affecting people travelling home to visit family for Christmas. Loganair said flights from Kirkwall to Shetland on both days were cancelled, as were two flights between Sumburgh and Aberdeen and between Edinburgh and Sumburgh.

The Shetland to Aberdeen flight on Sunday was also cancelled with problems at airports on the Scottish mainland as staff struggled to cope with freezing fog and snow. A spokeswoman for Loganair said further disruptions were likely on Monday with Aberdeen Airport shutting down before reopening at 9am and Inverness Airport also closed for a short time.

A spokesman for the council’s roads department said on Monday morning that all main roads in the isles were passable with care and they would be continuing to work on clearing side roads throughout the day.

“There’s a few areas where there’s some patches of snow due to isolated showers,” he said. “Folk just have to be careful. There’s no side roads blocked but a lot of them will be rough. They’re getting their first treatment today after the snow yesterday.

“We’re expecting it to be pretty similar to this but getting a bit milder over the next couple of days. We’re expecting a bit of ice tomorrow and Wednesday but the temperature is expected to lift through Wednesday.”

Fair Isle weatherman Dave Wheeler said the amount of snow had been varied across Shetland. He estimated that the depth had been somewhere between 5cm and 10cm although in some places it could have exceeded that.

The coldest weather came later on Saturday, he said, because an area of low pressure was feeding cold air from the Arctic, Greenland and Iceland but things had warmed up in the past 24 hours because of winds being drawn from the east.

“It looks as though the generally cold weather is going to continue until Christmas,” Mr Wheeler said. “Temperatures will be near freezing overnight and then rising to about 4C during the day. But by Christmas it looks as though we’ll be getting drier and brighter.

“The snow will be thawing out during the day but freezing through the night; perhaps it will not be the blanket white Christmas we were hoping for, but a white and grey Christmas.”

Shetland Times columnist Lawrence Tulloch, who stays in North Roe, was among those trying to fly home from Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon. The flight he was on got as far as the approach to Sumburgh but the weather conditions meant they had to turn back for the capital. They eventually got home on Sunday having been given accommodation in the city centre.

Mr Tulloch said: “During this whole period we had, I felt, been well looked after but I also know from long experience that nothing, at an airport, happens quickly and on this occasion a little more up-to-date information would have prevented the anger expressed by a few of the passengers.”


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