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90mph winds and heavy rain batter Scotland

The Met Office issued warnings across large parts of central and western parts of Scotland to 'be prepared' on Wednesday.

High winds: Several parts of Scotland have been placed on an amber warning.
© STV

Severe winds of up to 90mph and heavy rain is battering parts of Scotland causing travel disruption and warning of floods.

The Met Office issued amber "be prepared" weather warnings for much of central, southern and western Scotland, as well as parts of the Highlands, between 9am and midnight, while the rest of the country was issued with a yellow "be aware" warning.

The Forth Road Bridge was closed to all vehicles except cars and the Skye Bridge was closed to high sided vehicles because of the severe weather, while several ferry services in the Western Isles were cancelled on Wednesday during the latest round of powerful gusts to hit the country in recent weeks.

Caledonian MacBrayne had to cancel 20 of its ferry services to and from the Western Isles and five others were expected to be affected.

The Met Office said the worst affected areas are the Strathclyde region, the Highlands, Lothian and the Border and central Scotland.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency had nine flood warnings in place for several parts of the River Tummel in Pertshire on Wednesday because of heavy rainfall.

Several major road bridges were battered by the winds, which the Met Office said reached between 60 to 70mph in lowland areas and up to 90mph in more exposed coastal regions.

Traffic Scotland warned motorists using the Erskine Bridge, Perth’s Friarton Bridge, the Clackmannanshire Bridge and the Kessock Bridge in the Highlands to take care due to the winds.

Football fixtures were also affected by the severe weather as Motherwell FC had to call off their game against Dunfermline on Wednesday night because of storm damage at Fir Park caused by the winds.

Caledonian MacBrayne cancelled at least five of its Hebridean ferry services, with sailings to Barra, South Uist and Lewis among those affected by the severe weather on Wednesday morning.

Attractions have also been hit, with Edinburgh Castle forced to close because of the high winds.

Motorists on the A93 Braemar to Cairnwell road in Aberdeenshire are being urged to use extreme caution as driving snow and high winds are making driving difficult.

The A890 Lochcarron to Kyle road in the Highlands is expected to remain closed until at least December 30 after a landslide caused 100 tonnes of rock to tumble onto the road.

All other roads in the north of Scotland are open, but affected by very high winds.

High winds are causing disruption at airports at Barra, Campbeltown, Islay, Stornoway and Tiree and passengers are being urged to call their airlines before travelling.

STV weatherman Sean Batty said: "Winds will peak across central and western Scotland around 3pm. They are expected to reach around 80-90mph in exposed parts of the west and over the bridges, including Erskine, Tay and Forth.

"Winds elsewhere will reach up to 70mph and this will possibly cause structural damage.

"While the far north of Scotland escapes the worst this afternoon the winds are expected to gust up to 70mph during this evening across the Northern Isles."

He added: "Widespread disruption is expected for holiday travellers travelling by ferry on Wednesday.

"The winds will ease off on Thursday but it will still be windy. Widespread sleet and snow showers are expected across the north and north west on Thursday afternoon."

Earlier this month roads were blocked, properties damaged and thousands were sent home from school and work as strong gusts of up to 120mph hit Scotland.

For more information on being ready for winter, visit the STV Health Centre, brought to you by NHS inform.

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