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Heavy snow and rain cause severe disruption in Scotland

Published 04/12/2015

Parts of Edinburgh and routes in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders were among the worst affected by the snowfall
Parts of Edinburgh and routes in Midlothian and the Scottish Borders were among the worst affected by the snowfall

Heavy snow and rain has caused severe disruption and flooding to areas in the south of Scotland.

Routes in Midlothian, the Scottish Borders and parts of Edinburgh were among the worst affected by what police described as "extreme weather".

The sudden heavy fall of snow on Thursday evening resulted in some road closures and had a major impact on key routes through the Borders.

The fire service said some vehicles became stuck in the snow in places and fire engines had difficulty reaching emergency calls.

A fire engine crashed into a number of cars in Gorebridge, Midlothian, due to the conditions, but no-one was injured.

Elsewhere in the east, "significant" rainfall caused severe flooding in places and also shut some roads.

Jedburgh was particularly badly hit after a tributary of the River Teviot burst its banks, with parts of the town's high street being evacuated, the fire service said.

A man had to be rescued from the roof of his car after being trapped by the flood water.

Special water rescue teams were deployed and a Scottish Borders emergency office opened to deal with the spike in incidents.

A number of busy roads in the area were forced to close due to the snow and flooding, causing trouble for motorists.

The A1 from Oaktree to Thistly Cross, the A6105 at Earlston and the B6405 and the B6359 roads had to be closed. The A698 Denholm to Hawick road was also shut due to flooding.

Earlier on Thursday, the A68 at Soutra Hill had to be temporarily closed with several vehicles stuck in the snow, police said. Traffic Scotland later confirmed it had since reopened.

It also reported that the A7 had been closed in both directions at North Middleton after a bus became stuck.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said: "The safety of the public is our number one concern and we are continuing to work in extremely challenging weather conditions to ensure crews can make there way safely to emergency incidents. Our crew are extremely well trained and equipped to deal with these conditions.

"Our operations control teams are also highly skilled at managing calls for assistance from the public and other agencies, ensuring that we remain able to respond to the demands placed on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service."

The A701, A702 and A703 - all key routes south of Edinburgh - were also said by police to have been "badly affected" by the snow on Thursday, with traffic particularly heavy around Loanhead, Bilston and Penicuik in Midlothian.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Officers across the east of Scotland are working with a range of partner agencies, including the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Transport Scotland and numerous local authorities to deal with various incidents that have resulted from extreme weather.

"Midlothian, the Scottish Borders and parts of Edinburgh have experienced heavy snow which has had a significant impact on traffic.

"Other parts of the east have seen significant rainfall causing severe flooding that again has resulted in a number of road closures."

"We continue to work alongside our relevant partners to address these issues and the public are urged to avoid travelling where possible at this time.

"Anyone who needs to make an essential journey is urged to plan in advance and consult with the relevant agency websites to ensure that you can safely reach your destination."

Social media reports suggested traffic had been gridlocked in some of the worst affected areas.

Billy Taylor wrote on Twitter: "This weather is a nightmare. Been an hour Loanhead to Beeslack."

Single Malt Biker tweeted: "4 hours home! A702 started 2 move after Roslin roundabt, but cars abandoned / struggling. Good luck 2 those still on road."

Gritters were said to have been deployed on all routes.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has flood warnings in place for several areas in the Borders. Flood alerts are in place for Dumfries and Galloway and Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Expected storm force winds led to Glasgow's George Square festive attractions, including the city-centre ice rink, closing for the day.

A spokesman from Glasgow Life said: "Due to the storm force winds expected throughout the day, the Glasgow Loves Christmas attractions in George Square will not open at all today.

"Anyone with bookings for Glasgow on Ice sessions today should contact the box office to re-book.

"We continue to monitor the forecast for tomorrow and will post an update on planned opening hours on the Glasgow Loves Christmas web pages and on Facebook and Twitter as soon as possible."

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