Heavy snow strands drivers overnight on M74

Courtesy of BBC

I meant to publish this rather belated news report yesterday that I saw in the BBC News about snow closing the M74 on Monday night into Tuesday but I got caught out with extra chores! I wonder if the ‘full review’ that Traffic Scotland undertake will identify any lessons that can be learnt from the incident, and if they do if that lesson will highlight the yellow warning the Met Office issued? I didn’t take a copy of that warning, but to be fair to the Met Office I did think it mentioned the possibility of 15 cm of snow above 300 M which would have been enough to block the M74 between junctions 14 and 15 and where it does get up to around 315 M amsl at the Beattock summit. As daft as it sounds, for that particular road, at that particular spot, I think a red warning may have been more appropriate, and again highlights the inadequacies of the current warnings system. Even if it had I don’t think many people will have heard it, let alone heeded it.

Yellow Warning: Yellow warnings can be issued for a range of weather situations. Many are issued when it is likely that the weather will cause some low level impacts, including some disruption to travel in a few places. Many people may be able to continue with their daily routine, but there will be some that will be directly impacted and so it is important to assess if you could be affected. Other yellow warnings are issued when the weather could bring much more severe impacts to the majority of people but the certainty of those impacts occurring is much lower. It is important to read the content of yellow warnings to determine which weather situation is being covered by the yellow warning.

Amber Warning: There is an increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather, which could potentially disrupt your plans. This means there is the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, power cuts and the potential risk to life and property. You should think about changing your plans and taking action to protect yourself and your property. You may want to consider the impact of the weather on your family and your community and whether there is anything you need to do ahead of the severe weather to minimise the impact.

Red Warning: Dangerous weather is expected and, if you haven’t already done so, you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the severe weather. It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure. You should avoid travelling, where possible, and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

The Met Office
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