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‘People should stay home where they can’

Strong advice has been issued by the Orkney Local Emergency Coordination Group, which is asking that only the most essential travel should be undertaken locally over the next 24-36 hours.

An amber weather warning is in place for 3pm today (January 17) to 6pm tomorrow (January 18) with road conditions expected to worsen.

The weather has already significantly impacted on local services within the area, with blanket school closures across the county and cancellation of waste collections.

All schools in Orkney will remain closed tomorrow, as well as Willow Tree Nursery and Orkney College. Pupils at Papdale Halls of Residence will remain in the facility for now.

Council roads crews have been focusing on getting Priority 1 and Priority 2 roads cleared and gritted before the weather worsens – which, the local authority says, means they might not get out to the Priority 3 roads.

Police Scotland’s Chief Inspector for Orkney, Scott Robertson, chairs OLECG.

He said: “This level of snow is thankfully rare in Orkney – but when it does bite it can cause issues in terms of our daily lives

“We’ve seen significant impacts on our roads today with drifting and very difficult driving conditions particularly in our rural areas.

“The council’s roads team are doing a sterling job in keeping the roads clear, but with conditions set to worsen from this afternoon our strong advice is that people should stay home where they can and avoid any unnecessary travel.”