SCOTLAND is set to be hit by snow, lightning and very cold temperatures over the next few days, after high winds and rain caused transport difficulties yesterday.

Much of the country will experience further high winds, hail and snow storms, with temperatures set to dip to –7°C in some areas until Wednesday at least.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of potential travel delays, public transport disruption and power cuts, with some mobile phone services also likely to be affected.

Strong winds of up to 54mph began to hit the west coast yesterday, resulting in services on all 27 CalMac ferry routes being cancelled, delayed or disrupted.

Today’s early crossings between Ardrossan and Brodick on the Isle of Arran were cancelled last night.

The winds spread inland during the late afternoon and evening yesterday and were accompanied by torrential rain in some areas. Wet fronts that were moving in from the Atlantic will be followed by cold air sweeping down from Greenland and Iceland, producing blizzard conditions on the hills and bringing snow to low levels from 6pm tonight until 11am on Wednesday.

Met Office forecaster Emma Sharples said: “Cold air is set to spread across the country overnight into Monday.

“On Monday night and through Tuesday in Scotland and Northern Ireland we have issued a weather warning of possible hail and snow, with up to four inches possible above 200 metres.”

In its yellow warning statement the Met Office said: “Frequent and heavy hail and snow showers are likely to affect many parts of Scotland from Monday evening, continuing for much of the day on Tuesday.

“Travel delays on roads are possible, with a small chance of cancellations to public transport. There is also a small chance that power cuts will occur and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, may be affected.

“In addition, some roads and pavements may become icy, increasing the chance of injuries from slips and falls.”

The Met Office warning added: “Snow showers will be heaviest and most frequent across western Scotland. The largest accumulations of snow will be over high ground, with more than 10cm building up above 200 metres.

“At low levels, accumulations of the order of 2-5cm will be more typical. Showers will also be accompanied by hail and lightning at times, particularly across northern and western Scotland.

“Here, there is potential for disruption to power supplies from frequent lightning strikes.

“Strong winds are also expected, with the potential for temporary blizzard conditions and drifting of lying snow, particularly over high ground.”