Beast From the East: How Fifers battled the elements and won
As Fife starts to get back to normal, it's been an incredible week in the Kingdom.
Despite the difficulty and danger facing Fifers, the spirit of nthe Kingdom continues to prevail.
The initial warnings came at the tail-end of the previous week, with Met Office experts warning that this wasn’t going to be just another light flurry.
By the start of this week it was clear that heavy snow was on the way, with the oncoming storm already nicknamed the Beast From The East.
The Met Office warned that we were facing several days of heavy snow as a result of a weather system moving in from Russia.
But while it was cold and frosty initially on Monday, Tuesday’s weather warning seemed an overestimation for many - most places saw only a few short snow showers.
The next few days saw a prolonged Amber Warning in place, but It was on Wednesday that it all went wrong.
There were initially whispers that Wednesday’s Amber Warning for Snow could be upgraded to a Red Warning – an unprecedented feat at that point.
The odd few flurries came and went on Wednesday morning, but suddenly things got very serious when the alert changed to red at around midday.
The warning would be in effect from 3pm, and ScotRail immediately told commuters to “go home now”, amid rumours it would shut the network down completely. The buses were also now out of service.
The Scottish Transport Secretary Humza Yousaf warned people not to travel, and that there was a risk to life.
Schools, council offices, museums, theatres, and colleges were closed, with little hope of seeing them re-open by the weekend.
As people battened down the hatches or made their way home from work, it was already clear that this was something new, and much more extreme.
While the heavy and prolonged snow was causing problems on its own, the high winds were already work on on creating severe drifts.
Roads across Fife became impassable, even on coastal routes where the salt air would normally kill off the snow.
Across the Kingdom cars were left abandoned as people attempted to walk home or find shelter nearby.
Whole towns were cut off, the snow even settled on the beaches, and the Red Warning remained in place until 10am the next day.
On Thursday morning Fifers woke to deep snow drifts, four-feet high and more in some places, with even main roads too treacherous to attempt - assuming you could dig your car out in the first place.
Few places were open for business, as staff struggled to even get out of the house in many cases. Transport was largely out of order, meaning most people would have to walk miles through the snow just to reach work.
But as the Red Warning expired, an Amber Warning remained in place, meaning that further snow was still likely to fall on top of the already- coated streets.
Of the shops that were able to remain open, many in small towns cut off by the deep snow drifts were reporting low stocks of fresh goods like milk, bread, fruit, veg, and meat.
Thursday brought further heavy snow and extensive drifting, powered by yet more high winds, and the Amber alert was extended to Friday.
But by now there were stories emerging of selfless heroism.
Residents all over Fife stepped out into the cold and did what they could to to help others.
There were offers on social media from those with four-wheeled drive vehicles who wanted to help health workers and patients to hospital.
By Friday conditions had improved very little.
However, the emergency services and military had also stepped in to help things keep moving, and Deputy First Minister John Swinney urged residents across Scotland to do what they could to help their communities.
Communities continued to come together, however, with Burntisland Primary School opening a soup kitchen.
Slowly, as Saturday came, some transport issues eased off, with some restricted train services running through Fife, and a Sunday service was in effect for buses, though some areas remained cut-off until later in the day.
Some theatres and local facilities reopened, but many shows have been cancelled.
As we head into a new week, it is still unclear if schools will reopen on Monday. Conditions in some areas remain difficult, and Fife Council is set to make a decision later on Sunday.
What we can say for sure is that after heavy and prolonged snowfall over the course of the last week, the streets of the Kingdom will remain white for some time to come. Cold weatrher means it may not thaw anytime soon.
All we can do is hope that the Beast From The East is in no mood for a comeback.