A SECOND day of severe snow disruption in East Lothian is under way as the 'Beast from the East' continues to bite.

Council-run schools, nurseries and specialist education provision will remain closed tomorrow (Friday) - the third day of closures this week. 

An amber 'be prepared' weather warning has been extended into the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Superintendent Helen Harrison of Police Scotland said: "We continue to deal with a number of challenging incidents right across the country and the response from our officers, staff and those of our partner agencies has been outstanding.

"We are not complacent through and we will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to keep people as safe as possible.

"Our advice has not changed - avoid travel in the affected areas and keep a close eye on the Met Office updates and from the authorities across Scotland.

"We are continuing to run a multi-agency command centre at Bilston to coordinate the emergency response with our partners and to keep Scotland moving as best we can.

"The advice remains the same - if you can postpone your journey in affected areas until after the amber warning ceases I would urge you to do so. We'd ask employers to continue to allow staff to work flexibly."

The A1 was temporarily closed in both directions between Dunbar and Grantshouse this morning (Thursday), but has since re-opened. 

Anyone planning on travelling is asked to check Traffic Scotland's Twitter page for information. 

The road is still passable between Haddington and Edinburgh but is down to one lane.

Several roads in East Lothian are closed (see tweet below).

Alan Stubbs, service manager, roads at East Lothian Council, said: “Our teams have been working in 12 hour shifts around the clock for the last 48 hours. Conditions through the night were extremely severe with drifting snow being the biggest problem.

"Conditions were very hazardous for our drivers with very poor visibility. Gritters were forced to concentrate on main roads only and have been working on these throughout the night.

"During periods of extreme weather and heavy continuous snowfall when roads and footpaths are affected by significant levels of lying snow, priority will be given to primary carriageway routes and primary footpath routes.

"Gritters will be deployed on these specified routes continuously until satisfactory snow clearance has been achieved before resources are deployed to any secondary routes. We will then move into lower priority roads and finally residential areas."

Indeed, conditions are so tricky that pupils at Musselburgh's Loretto School have been skiing round the campus. . .

All schools and nurseries in East Lothian are closed for a second day today (Thursday), as is Queen Margaret University's (QMU) campus in Musselburgh, which will remain closed until Monday morning, while a number of businesses are also shut.

The Beast from the East has resulted in no East Lothian Couriers reaching the shops today - though our distributors are hoping to make deliveries of the paper tomorrow, depending on the severity of the weather and our outlets being open.

Most county high streets and main streets resemble ghost towns with hardly a soul or shopkeeper about. 

Some larger businesses, including the Tesco and Co-op in Haddington, have since re-opened.

Musselburgh Jobcentre is also closed.

A red 'take action' weather warning - the highest possible, meaning 'likely' risk to life, and the first in East Lothian's history - was in place until 10am this morning.

There are currently no bus or train services operating in East Lothian or the wider region.

All bus services in the county have announced they will not be running any services at all today.

While train services also remain out of action for the forseeable future.

NHS Lothian has cancelled non-emergency procedures.

A statement said: "Due to severe weather conditions and transport difficulties, NHS Lothian has taken the difficult decision to cancel all routine, non-urgent elective procedures and all hospital outpatient appointments today and tomorrow.   

"Emergency and urgent elective procedures will still go ahead. We will be prioritising urgent cancer surgery and patients are being contacted directly if their case is considered urgent.

"These decisions do not include community services. Please contact your local health centre or GP surgery to find out whether the adverse weather has affected your appointment.

"We apologise to the patients affected by these cancellations and will contact them to arrange alternative appointments as soon as possible.

"NHS Lothian is urging people who are unwell to use the NHS wisely and make full use of NHS 24, pharmacies and the self-help guides at www.nhsinform.scot to check symptoms.

"We would urge patients to use these services rather than attending an Emergency Department, which is for serious injuries and major emergencies only.

"Patients in need will always be seen but it is important that clinical services always be prioritised to those who most urgently require it.

"Our staff have made heroic efforts to ensure the safe running of our services. Many worked late and stayed overnight while others have walked miles to report for duty this morning. We salute their commitment and  thank them for their resilience.

"However, we are requesting that off duty staff – particularly registered nurses – consider volunteering to work today to ease the pressures of today’s staff shortages. Staff able to work should call their manager to  register their availability."

Earlier reports of a power cut at North Berwick Health Centre were posted on social media by error, and the health centre is open. 

East Lothian Council has announced that no bin collections will take place today.

All four community recycling centres - at North Berwick, Macmerry, Dunbar and Kinwegar - also remain closed.

For information about bin, food waste or garden waste collections, check East Lothian Council's website. 

And libraries in Ormiston, Longniddry and Gullane are closed, with limited services in most of the other libraries around the counnty.

Snow fell throughout the night and more is forecast to fall for most of the day in East Lothian, adding to difficulties.