Heavy snow overnight and continued snow showers have meant the closure of most of Shetland’s schools today, as well as Sumburgh Airport.
Around two thirds of the isles schools either did not open or opted to close early as conditions deteriorated during the morning. The Lerwick schools were among those that remained open, however.
Sumburgh Airport did not open at all this morning, although manager Nigel Flaws said he hoped to open later in the day. Things were difficult, however, as every time the runway was cleared a fresh fall of snow occurred.
The airport had also been forced to close on Thursday afternoon, after a series of delays and cancellations. Scatsta Airport has fared better today as offshore helicopter flights were able to get airborne.
Weather man Dave Wheeler said the snow would persist over the weekend, with more heavy falls this afternoon, especially in northern Shetland where depths of five to 10 centimetres could happen. Temperatures would be below freezing and snow would be blown around in the south-westerly winds. A slow thaw was setting in, however, and any snow falls over the weekend were not expected to be significant.
Meanwhile the new NorthLink freight vessel Helliar, expected to make her maiden voyage to Lerwick this week, remains in Aberdeen. Her proposed departure to Shetland at 6pm tonight has been cancelled.