Forecast of snow means gritter convoy will leave town ahead of 5pm buses

A snow-woman and a snow-boy and snow-pup were created in a garden of the Powis Family, North Lochside, at the weekend and brought a lot of visitors bearing cameras to see the unique trio. <i>Photo: Pat Fraser</I>
Not everyone was upset by the conditions! A snow-woman, a snow-boy and snow-pup were created in a garden of the Powis Family, North Lochside, Lerwick at the weekend and brought a lot of visitors bearing cameras to see the unusual trio. Photo: Pat Fraser. Click image to enlarge.

A convoy of gritters will run ahead of the buses as they leave Lerwick during rush hour tonight [Monday] following Met office warnings of severe snowfalls to come.

The move is being made to help ensure a safe passage for workers trying to get out of town to their homes in the country.

A spokesman for the council’s roads department said “fairly serious precipitation” had been forecast to fall between four and five o’clock tonight which could make driving conditions extremely difficult.

“It means driving between five and six could be very hard. It could just be sleet, but it would make visibility very bad,” he said.

The same move was made by the council on Friday after the second bout of bad weather to have hit the isles this year came almost without warning, turning roads white and causing major disruption on many routes.

The full fleet of gritters were out in force at the weekend keeping roads clear, although continuing overnight flurries meant they had to put in as many hours the following day going over old ground.

The spokesman said: “The snowploughs have been blading rather than gritting at the moment. They’ve been driving round the roads trying to keep the snow down. Any accumulation has to be cleared away in the morning.”

Salt supplies were said to be “holding out,” with 2,500 tonnes of fresh supplies arriving today. “That should be ample unless it continues like this for any length of time,” the spokesman said.

Roads officials have been staying in close contact with the council’s education department.

Meanwhile, all schools remained closed to pupils today as they did on Friday, giving youngsters an extended weekend.

Head of schools Helen Budge said no final decision had been made on whether any schools would close tomorrow [Tuesday].

She said head teachers at individual schools had the choice to close for the day when faced by bad weather. However, she decided to put across a “blanket closure” on schools on Monday after speaking with roads officials the previous day.

Friday’s disruption brought problems to many schools where prelim exams were due to take place, although Mrs Budge said these should be easily rescheduled because the prelim dates were set by individual schools. “Prelims are set by schools, so they can reset them, although it’s obviously not helpful,” she said.


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