A red warning has been issued by the Met Office for Tayside and Fife as a freezing weather system from Russia grips the country.
It is the highest and most serious alert which the forecaster can issue and will be in effect from 3pm on Wednesday until 10am on Thursday. Fife is expected to be the worst affected area.
The Met Office said roads could be hit by “deep snow” as “heavy snow showers” move into the region.
Forecasters have warned that more than 1ft of snow could land in parts of Courier Country as the “Beast from the East” grips the nation.
And Stagecoach East Scotland has advised people to head home as soon as possible, as it cannot “guarantee services” after 3pm.
**Met Office now confirm a red warning will be in place across the region from 3pm today, therefore our advice is to commence journeys home ASAP as we cannot guarantee services will operate beyond this time. We'll continue to post updates here> https://t.co/jeX3jTcm0f
— Stagecoach East Scot (@StagecoachEScot) February 28, 2018
The firm took to Twitter to say: “Met Office now confirm a red warning will be in place across the region from 3pm today, therefore our advice is to commence journeys home ASAP as we cannot guarantee services will operate beyond this time. We’ll continue to post updates here.”
Commenting on the updated red warning forecast for Central, Tayside and Fife, the Met Office’s chief forecaster said: “Snow showers already affecting the area will become heavier and more prolonged later on Wednesday afternoon and at times through the evening and overnight period, with 5cm (2in) of snow falling within an hour in some places and lying snow reaching 20-30cm (7.9in – 12in) and possibly 40cm (15.7in) in a few places by mid morning on Thursday.
“Strong easterly winds will lead to significant drifting of lying snow.”
A number of crashes took place across Tayside and Fife on Wednesday morning, with schools across Perth and Kinross, Angus and Fife closed.
A second amber warning remains in place for the whole of Tayside and Fife, effective from 10.15am on Wednesday until 6pm on Thursday.
The Met Office said “frequent and heavy snow showers” will affect areas affected by this alert.
The Met Office guidance for red warnings state “extreme weather” is forecast and that “risk to life is likely”.
It states: “Extreme weather is expected. Red means you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather.
“Widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely. You must avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.”
A yellow warning of snow is also in place from Friday morning until midnight on Saturday.
More to follow.