Fresh snowfalls and freezing conditions continue to disrupt services

Fresh snowfalls and the freezing conditions continued to cause major disruption in Shetland today, with all schools closed for a second day and transport services once again severely disrupted. Eight people were hurt in a road accident yesterday afternoon caused by the weather.

However, the NorthLink service is returning to normal. The freight boats have resumed operations and tonight’s sailings of the Hrossey and Hjaltland will go ahead as normal.

With temperatures not reaching above -1°C overnight and remaining below freezing this morning, it was decided to keep schools closed along with Shetland College and all Learning Centres. The Eric Gray Centre, the Bridges Project and the NAFC are also shut and there will be no youth clubs tonight.

Tonight’s Michael Janisch gig at the Sandwick Social Club has also been cancelled.

Sumburgh airport was forced to close in the morning due to heavy snow on the runways, but it opened again by 11am. It is however running to severe delays, including backlogs from yesterday.

“Horrendous” road conditions yesterday resulted in a road accident on the A970 just north of the Sandwater loch, after two cars collided just before 4.30pm.

Eight people were injured and two ambulances were called to transport the people to hospital.

Two fire engines were also called out to assist in cutting one of the people out of their vehicle.

A police spokesman said: “The winter weather conditions have been attributed as a main factor in relation to this accident and police would like to remind the public that if they have to travel in wintry conditions to ensure they take suitable precautions as previously intimated.”

Shetland coastguard has also been involved in callouts as a result of the poor weather conditions in Orkney, with the rescue helicopter transporting an elderly woman from the island of Sanday to hospital.

The coastguard was contacted by the rescue co-ordination centre at RAF Kinloss at 2pm yesterday, and despite northerly gales and heavy snow showers the woman was successfully conveyed to Kirkwall where a waiting ambulance took her to hospital.

Later the coastguard was called out again when ambulance control in Inverness requested assistance to again take an elderly person to hospital when road conditions forced the ambulance to abandon attempts to reach him at his South Ronaldsay home.

A coastguard four-wheel drive vehicle was sent out from the base at St Margaret’s Hope to take the man to hospital.

Shetland Coastguard watch manager Dave Phillips said: “We are happy to have assisted the medical authorities on Orkney get these two elderly patients to hospital in what have been fairly severe weather conditions.”

Severe weather warnings have again been issued by the Met Office as heavy snow showers are expected to continue today, meaning further accumulations of 5-10cm of snow with locally 20 cm in places.

The cold weather will remain over the weekend, with frost and snow showers expeteced to continue.


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