Big chill to carry on into new year

SNOW and sub-zero conditions are to continue in Scotland, with more snow expected across the country.

• Picture: Neil Hanna

The news is likely to impact most on travellers, and yesterday one Scottish airport was temporarily closed.

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: "The airport suspended operations on the runway from 11:30am to 1pm to allow for snow clearing operations.

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"There has been some disruption to flights and passengers are advised to check with their airline, as some flights may be subject to delays."

Over the next few days central and south Scotland will see rain, sleet and snow showers, with low temperatures.

Met Office forecaster Robin Steel said there would be a high of 6C today, but only in certain coastal areas. He added: "Edinburgh and Glasgow will be around 1C or 2C and the Highlands are likely to remain sub-zero all day. The trend through the week and into the new year is remaining cold, although it will be bright."

Snow showers are forecast for Scotland, with the north and east particularly affected, and potentially heavy snowfall in the Highlands. Friday was the first official white Christmas for Glasgow since 2004 – the definition requiring fresh snow to fall on the day.

In contrast with the Scottish forecast, England was expected to warm up, with temperatures of 10C expected yesterday.

RSPB Scotland called on people enjoying the outdoors to minimise disturbance to groups of ducks, geese, swans and wading birds in the cold snap. It warned that on lakes, rivers, wetlands, and coastal areas, birds would be struggling to survive after enduring seven consecutive days of freezing temperatures.

This is only the second time since 2003 that such an appeal has been issued, following a run of relatively mild winters.

RSPB Scotland's head of habitats, Dr Paul Walton, said: "During freezing conditions, disturbance forces the birds to squander their precious energy reserves by taking flight, when they need to spend as much time as possible feeding.

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"We are monitoring the behaviour of birds at RSPB nature reserves across Scotland during this cold spell.

"We hope everyone who uses the countryside will heed our advice. If they do, the millions of birds that visit our coasts and wetlands stand a better chance of survival."