All schools in Shetland will be closed on Friday due to the continuing bad weather forecast, the council confirmed just after 1pm today.
That followed the closure of several schools today while some ferry services were disrupted because of the westerly gales battering Shetland this morning.
Baltasound and Mid Yell Junior High Schools were shut due to power being lost and schools in Burravoe and Fair Isle were also closed, the SIC confirmed. Burravoe later re-opened after power was restored.
Youth clubs across the isles were also shut because of the severe weather.
There was disruption on the inter-island ferry services, with crossings across Bluemull Sound and Yell Sound suspended as well as the Lerwick-Bressay service.
Scottish Hydro said its engineers were working throughout the day to restore power supplies.The wind was forecast to ease throughout the morning, although wintry showers were expected to continue.
At 8.43am the SIC reported that there was four inches of snow in Unst and it was starting to lie in the north of Yell. Gritters were out in the North Isles and would be treating and ploughing all roads including the priority three routes. All gritters were on standby on the Mainland and the main roads had been gritted in preparation for snow.
Fetlar Primary School was later added to the list of schools which were closed. Others were to send pupils home early including Cullivoe at 12.30pm, Mossbank and Olnafirth at 12.50pm, Tingwall, Skeld and Ollaberry at 1pm, Whiteness and Whalsay at 1.15pm, Hamnavoe at 1.30p and Brae, Aith, Cunningsburgh, Happyhansel, Sandness and Urafirth at 2pm.
Meanwhile Serco NorthLink has stated that tonight’s sailings between Lerwick and Aberdeen will be disrupted.
The passenger ferry Hjaltland, due to leave Lerwick for Aberdeen at 7pm tonight, will be delayed with a probable departure time of 3am on Friday morning.
The Hrossey, which was due to leave Aberdeen at 5pm tonight and call at both Kirkwall and Lerwick, will load as normal but only leave at 10am on Friday. She will only go as far as Orkney where she is expected to arrive at 6pm and take up the scheduled Friday southbound sailing to Aberdeen at 11.45pm.
The freight vessels Helliar and Hildasay are currently berthed at Aberdeen and Lerwick respectively. Both are expected to leave at around teatime on Friday.