Scotland in lockdown as huge storm sweeps in

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Scotland closed schools and travellers were warned to expect disruption on key routes Thursday due to gale-force winds, as Britain's first major winter storm of the season swept in.

Schools in western, central and southern Scotland were closed after forecasters issued a "red alert" and warned of winds of up 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour).

Police are warning that the strong winds will make conditions on the roads treacherous and have said they may advise against all travel as the day wears on.

"By travelling, motorists may be putting themselves at serious risk, such is the severity of the forecast conditions," said police chief constable Allan Moffatt.

The storm swept into western Scotland early Thursday, hitting Glasgow.

The gales were expected to spread across the country and be at their strongest between 3:00 pm (1500 GMT) and 6:00 pm (1800 GMT), according to forecaster the Met Office.

Some snow was expected to fall but it would quickly be followed by heavy rain and stormy conditions, said the forecaster.

Although Scotland was set to bear the brunt of the bad weather, strong winds were also expected in parts of England.

© 2011 AFP

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