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Storm Hector hits Scotland with 70mph winds and heavy rain

Winds could gust at up to 70mph in the west on Thursday as the storm sweeps in.

Storm Hector has hit Scotland, battering the country with high winds and heavy rain.

Winds could gust at up to 70mph and the heaviest rain is likely to fall in the west on Thursday.

Trains have been delayed and cancelled in the central belt by fallen trees and downed overhead lines.

The Queensferry Crossing was closed to double-decker buses and the Forth Road Bridge, now a public transport corridor, was shut completely.

Meanwhile, west Scotland ferry operator CalMac warned most of its sailings had been affected by the weather.

A Met Office yellow weather warning has been issued for the whole of Scotland except Shetland, while an amber warning covers part of Northern Ireland.

Storm Hector: Tree felled on Great Western Road in Glasgow.
Storm Hector: Tree felled on Great Western Road in Glasgow. Declyn Brady
Felled: Fallen tree at Kirkwood train station in Coatbridge.
Felled: Fallen tree at Kirkwood train station in Coatbridge. Michelle Mooney

STV weather presenter Sean Batty said: "The worst of winds from Storm Hector will be across central, southern and western Scotland on Thursday morning. Through the day these will ease north, to reach the Northern Isles by the afternoon and evening.

"Winds will gust widely 40 to 60mph, with a risk of gusts reaching 70mph in the most exposed areas.

"Since trees are in full leaf there has already been tree damage in southern areas, and this risk will move north through the day."

"Travel disruption is expected throughout the day, although it should get better later in more southern parts of the country as the winds ease later."

Clean-up: Fallen trees collected on Great Western Road.
Clean-up: Fallen trees collected on Great Western Road. STV

Despite improving conditions in places, the Met Office has warned it might step up its warning in Scotland later in the day.

Flood alerts have been issued for parts of Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway, and Orkney.

Tourist attractions have also been affected. Edinburgh Zoo and Edinburgh Castle said high winds had forced them to close, while the RSPB nature trails at Lochwinnoch are shut. Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh are also closed to visitors.

Sean said the conditions brought by Storm Hector are "very unseasonable".

"Even though it feels like we've been thrown into the depths of autumn, don't worry as the winds will be much lighter as we go into the weekend," he said.

"Warm sunny spells will return, although so will the heavy thundery showers. The worst thunderstorms will occur on Saturday and largely affect central and southern Scotland."

As of 10.50am, the Tay Bridge has been closed off to all traffic due to the high winds. Drivers have been asked to find alternative routes and warned that it may cause delays.

In East Lothian, the northbound section of the A1 was closed after a lorry overturned amid high winds between Dunbar and Haddington.

Traffic Scotland advised drivers to avoid the area following the incident at 9.25am.

The road remained closed into the afternoon as the high winds made the vehicle difficult to recover.

Road: A1 was closed in East Lothian.
Road: A1 was closed in East Lothian. Sarah Bennett McCulloch

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