THE Met Office have issued a red weather warning for Stirling, beginning at 3pm today.

The forecast was upgraded following sustained snowfall across the country.

However, the front is predicted to worsen this afternoon with a further warning against travel being issued.

Delays to public transport are expected, with a likelihood of passengers being stranded on roads "blocked by deep snow".

Power cuts are also possible, with rural communities being braced for periods of isolation which could last "several days".

The Scottish Government and Police Scotland issued a warning not to travel across the central belt today, unless absolutely necessary.

The Met Office forecast read: "Heavy snow showers and drifting of lying snow in the strong easterly winds will become more widespread across the area later on Wednesday afternoon, through the evening and overnight into Thursday.

"Roads will become blocked by deep snow, with many stranded vehicles and passengers. Long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel are expected.

"Some communities could become cut off for several days. Long interruptions to power supplies and other services."

The chief forecaster added: "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 five cm of snow falling within an hour in some places and lying snow reaching 20-30 cm and possibly 40 cm in a few places by mid morning on Thursday.

"Strong easterly winds will lead to significant drifting of lying snow."

Stirling Council closed schools for today, along with Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Fife.

As of yet, there has been no announcement as to whether they will open tomorrow.

Transport disruptions are likely, with First Buses warning that some services may be withdrawn if the safety of drivers is compromised.

David Phillips, First Scotland East operations director, said: “First Scotland East services major disruptions to services due to the extreme weather effects of the Beast from the East snow storm.

"A number of routes have been badly effected and our drivers are doing their very best to operate despite some buses getting stuck in the snow or moving slowly in very testing road conditions.

"The safety of our staff and customers is our number one priority and any alterations to services will only be made where their safety is potentially compromised.”