ROADS and schools have been closed as Storm Doris sweeps in, bringing snow and high winds to parts of Scotland.
The M80 was shut northbound from J5 Auchenkilns and southbound from J9 Bannockburn due to snow, while there were two jack-knifed lorries near Haggs.
The Met Office has issued amber “be prepared” notices for snow across the central belt, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Tayside and Fife on Thursday, while yellow “be aware” warnings are in place for many parts of Scotland.
In Aberdeenshire some schools have been closed due to the weather while some school transport is not operating.
All school transport in the Borders has been cancelled for the day as heavy and widespread snow is forecast across much of the area.
Coming after a mainly mild February so far, Scotland is expected to be hit by up to 6in (15cm) of snow falling “quite widely”, with accumulations of 12in (30cm) potentially falling on hills above 984ft (300m).
The strongest winds are forecast across England and Wales on Thursday, but gusts of 50-60mph are expected widely across the warning area north of the border, with the risk of 70mph on coasts and hills, the Met Office said.
Ferry services have also been affected by the weather, with Caledonian MacBrayne warning of disruption on some west coast routes.
Elsewhere the snow gates have been closed in both directions on the Banchory to Fettercairn route while Traffic Scotland warned of high winds on the Tay Road bridge and the Erskine Bridge.
Motorists have been advised to check travel information before they embark on their journey.
Stein Connelly, of Traffic Scotland, said: “On Thursday the worst of any snow will be on the higher routes, especially in the central and south of Scotland, and we would ask road users to keep this in mind when they are planning their journeys and that they drive according to the conditions.”
BEAR Scotland said gritters will be out patrolling the roads.
“As ever, we ask members of the public to ensure their vehicle is well maintained, that they pay close attention to local and national media and information to help plan journeys during inclement weather and that they carry equipment to help themselves should conditions deteriorate,” a spokeswoman said.
Storm Doris is the first major winter weather front for two months.
The north of the country was worst affected, with homes losing power when Storm Conor hit on Boxing Day with winds of more than 90mph.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Met Office is telling us that Storm Doris will bring a mixture of heavy snow, sleet and rain across central and southern areas and this will lead to poor driving conditions, especially around the Southern Uplands.
“Transport Scotland is working with the relevant organisations, such as Police Scotland and the road operating companies, to try to mitigate the effects of this latest set of wintry conditions, but we would ask road users to be mindful that disruption is likely and to plan accordingly.”