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Weather warning upgraded as heavy rain and gales batter Scotland

High winds are expected to hit parts of Scotland throughout the week with warnings in place.

Storm expected: Storm force winds expected.
Kenny McCubbin

Wet and windy weather is causing travel disruption across parts of Scotland.

Ferries have been cancelled for the remainder of the day as a result of the conditions.

The Met Office also upgraded their warning level to "amber" for parts of the country on Wednesday morning, with gale-force winds expected throughout the day.

Several rail routes have been withdrawn from the timetable in preparation for more adverse weather. The Skye Bridge was also closed to high sided-vehicle on Tuesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will hold a meeting of the Scottish Government's resilience team to discuss preparations for the predicted extreme weather.

Severe gales with gusts around 80mph mainly over the Outer Hebrides and Northern Isles are forecast.

Ms Sturgeon and deputy first minister John Swinney will attend the meeting with transport minister Derek Mackay, as well as representatives from Transport Scotland, local resilience partnerships, SEPA, Met Office and other key organisations who will provide an update on their preparations.

Traffic Scotland warned motorists in Tayside, Dumfries and Galloway and the central region to take care on the roads due to low temperatures.

CalMac cancelled 18 services, including routes to Coll and Tiree, Islay, Lewis and South Uist.

Another eight services were subject to delays after strong southerly winds forced the company to place those routes on amber alert.

Argyll Ferries' Gourock to Dunoon service has also been suspended until further notice. A temporary bus service has been put in place and will start at 8.50am.

CalMac posted an apology to customers on their website: "As the severe weather is forecast to last until Thursday, December 11, our customers are advised that disruptions are likely on this service and we ask them to check our website for the latest information before travelling.

"We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause."

https://vine.co/v/OrT9VEdzgFu | vine

Roads

On the Isle of Lewis the A866 Braighe Road causeway to the Point peninsula was closed for a short time on Tuesday morning after motorists reported 'terrifying' conditions of waves coming over the sea wall at high tide.

Isle of Lewis the A866 Braighe Road causeway to the Point peninsula December 9 2014
© STV

On the A1 between Haddington and Thistly Cross all lanes were restricted because of high winds.

The Skye Bridge remained closed to high sided vehicles and slow moving traffic, coupled with a number of road traffic incidents on the M90 was also causing long queues at the Forth Road Bridge.

On the A9 all lanes on the Kessock Bridge were also restricted because of high winds.

Road users are advised to exercise caution in Tayside, Dumfries and Galloway and the central region region due to low temperatures affecting driving conditions.

Rail

ScotRail confirmed that they had withdrawn a number of services from Wednesday's timetable.

No trains will run on the Inverness-Kyle/Thurso/Wick, Ayr to Stranraer, Kilwinning to Ardrossan/Largs, Dumbarton Central to Helensburgh Central, and Glasgow Queen St to Oban/Fort William/Mallaig lines.

These routes are likely to bear the brunt of the 70mph winds and high tides forecast to hit the north and west of Scotland over the next 48 hours.

ScotRail said replacement bus services will be considered but are dependent on road conditions.

Network Rail will have hundreds of engineers out across the network ready to react quickly to problems on the lines, removing trees and fixing equipment where necessary.

The company will also be monitoring its system of over 120 weather alarms across the network to help track the passage of the storm.

David Dickson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “Safety has to be our first consideration during severe weather and we are withdrawing a limited number of services until the worst of the storms have passed.

“We will be monitoring conditions on the ground closely throughout the night and into the morning and will have teams in place across the country to react quickly to any damage caused by the weather.

“We are working closely with the train operators and other industry partners to do everything we can to reduce disruption, while also operating a safe network for passengers.”

In Edinburgh the city's zoo was forced to close on Tueday due to worsening conditions.

Storm

High winds are expected to batter parts of Scotland throughout the week and wintry conditions could cause disruption to travel and power supplies, forecasters have warned.

The Met Office has issued a Be Aware warning for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England from Tuesday through to Thursday.

However, on Tuesday that was upgraded to an amber Be Prepared warning for Orkney and Shetland, Highlands and Eilean Siar, and Strathclyde.

All schools, nurseries, GP surgeries and sports centres in the Western Isles will be closed on Wednesday. The Western Isles Health Board was also due to cancel all appointments.

STV weatherman Sean Batty said: “It’s going to be a very unsettled week, with stormy conditions on Wednesday.

“Winds will pick up across the country during Tuesday afternoon with heavy rain spreading east. Gales are likely across the north and west, with severe gales or even storm force winds by Wednesday in the far north.

“The storm system has a very long and straight north-westerly fetch all the way from southern Greenland. This will bring a very large swell and heavy seas to the north and west of the country.

“The waves could top sea walls and wind could peak with gusts up to 80mph in north-western areas. The winds are expected to ease slowly during Thursday as the storm centre drifts towards the Norwegian coast.”

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