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Warning snow and floods will bring more weather misery

Scotland is bracing itself for further severe weather with warnings of snow and flooding today after parts of the country suffered the worst conditions in 30 years.

stormy WEATHER: Waves crash to the shore at Ardrossan, one of the areas worst affected by the combination of a tidal surge and severe storms with high winds reaching up to 60mph. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA
stormy WEATHER: Waves crash to the shore at Ardrossan, one of the areas worst affected by the combination of a tidal surge and severe storms with high winds reaching up to 60mph. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

More travel chaos is being predicted, with outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow throughout the day providing no respite from yesterday's storms that brought gusts of more than 60mph and resulted in homes being evacuated, loss of power supplies and widespread flooding affecting travel.

Dumfries and Galloway suffered the worst floods for decades, with communities along the Solway Firth being badly hit by a combination of high tides swelling rivers to bursting point and torrential rain.

The Met Office says travel disruption is possible today as outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow develop. There are yellow weather warnings covering Strathclyde, the south-west, Lothian and Borders, the central belt, Tayside and Fife. The difficult conditions are expected to continue tomorrow.

It also emerged that December was the wettest month on record in Scotland, with 11 inches of rainfall.

Scotland's environment agency had 21 flood warnings still in force last night covering large parts of Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, ­Scottish Borders and Tayside. Flood alerts linked to high tides were in place for much of Scotland.

The Scottish Environment ­Protection Agency (Sepa) issued warnings of a "large storm surge" for today, coupled with "high astronomical tides" that may cause floods around the Firth of Forth, upper Forth, coastal parts of west central Scotland, Southerness and the Isle of Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway, Skye, Lochaber, Orkney and Shetland. An amber flood alert was in place in Findhorn, Nairn, Moray and Speyside amid fears the River Spey may burst its banks.

Another depression is due to blow in tomorrow from the Atlantic. A winter storm has resulted in 11 deaths across north America and Canada. The storm is threatening gusts of 50mph in parts of Britain.

High-tide levels today may cause flooding impacts in some area.

Sepa said that while the risk in most coastal areas remains low, some rivers may become "tide locked" where large flows from upstream reach the sea.

The warnings came as Scotland's Environment Minister Paul ­Wheelhouse urged members of the public to remain vigilant to the threat of flooding.

He added: "We know already there's another low-pressure system hitting us on Sunday but we don't know yet how severe it will be. There's no particular signal that it's going to be a particularly bad one but because of the degree of saturation of the ground that we have at the moment, any rainfall of significance can trigger local flooding."

As he toured the Police Scotland Communications Centre in Glasgow, Mr Wheelhouse said emergency staff were working extremely hard to keep Scotland moving.

Snow is expected, especially on ground above 500 feet where ­accumulations of several centimetres are possible, the forecasters said.

A Met Office spokesman said there remained "considerable uncertainty" regarding the extent of the snow in Scotland. "A complex depression is likely to run north-eastwards across the UK on Saturday," he said.

"As the associated frontal system encounters colder air across northern Britain, the rain is likely to turn to snow at least on higher routes. Any heavy precipitation could bring wet snow down to lower levels."

Traffic Scotland warned last night that water and winds were still having an effect on conditions in Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway and Lothian and Borders and called for motorists to exercise caution if using the roads.

Much of the UK suffered from the storms, with widespread flooding in Wales and south-west England, and many homes evacuated. Last night there were eight severe flood warnings - which mean "danger to life" - for Gloucestershire, Dorset and Wales.

A search was under way for 18-year-old student Harry Martin, who vanished after leaving his home in Newton Ferrers, near Plymouth, Devon, to take photographs of the storms.

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