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More gales and heavy rain to hit parts of country

THE Met Office has issued weather warnings for much of Scotland with heavy rain, high winds and snow on the way.

Downpours were predicted to arrive overnight bringing over an inch of rain to the central belt by the end of today, with winds of up to 70mph expected.

Temperatures are set to fall tomorrow, with forecasters saying that snow will fall on high ground although lower areas will stay frost free.

Network Rail is not expecting the spell of bad weather to cause much disruption to train services, but has drafted in extra engineers to the north of the country, where the worst of the winds are expected.

A spokesman for the Met Office said that Scots should be braced for a period of unsettled weather throughout the festive weeks ahead.

He said: "On Wednesday we will see rain move in overnight from the west, leading to a very wet day. During the afternoon the wind will pick up bringing gusts of 60-70 mph to many parts of the country, but mostly at exposed and coastal areas.

"We have issued yellow alerts lasting from 4pm until 6am on Thursday for the wind, and from 9am until midnight on Wednesday, so people should be prepared for bad weather if they venture out."

The latest wintery forecast comes after gales ravaged much of Scotland this month, leading to the shutdown of much of the rail network in the central belt.

Meanwhile, experts at the University of St Andrews say that recent winter storms could have also revealed important new archaeological sites along the coast.

Archaeologists at the University are appealing to the public for help spotting any new finds.

Researcher Tom Dawson said: "The sand has preserved sites for centuries, but recent storms have washed away parts of the coast edge, making this irreplaceable archive incredibly vulnerable."

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