High winds and floods hit Scotland


High winds and floods hit Scotland

Heavy rain and winds gusting more than 65mph have swept across Scotland causing widespread disruption.

Roads were closed, rail services delayed, football fixtures cancelled and Christmas attractions shut by the storm.

Warnings of high winds and flooding remain in place for some areas as the severe weather is expected to continue into tomorrow.

The Met Office earlier issued a yellow "be aware" alert of gales throughout the country.

Wind speeds of 66mph were recorded at Inverbervie in Aberdeenshire and Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway, while a gust of 65mph hit South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

On higher ground, wind speeds reached 102mph on the Applecross peninsula in Wester Ross and 111mph at Tomintoul in the Cairngorms National Park.

Glasgow and Edinburgh were buffeted by gusts of up to 47mph, temporarily closing Christmas attractions in the capital including the Big Wheel in Princes Street Gardens.

Several football fixtures were called off, including a match between Stenhousemuir and Rangers which was cancelled for safety reasons after structural damage to one of the stands at Ochilview Park in Stenhousemuir.

Passengers at Edinburgh Airport faced disruption to flights, while f looding and problems with overhead wires affected some ScotRail lines and many Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services on the west coast were cancelled or delayed.

At the height of the storm the Forth, Tay and Skye road bridges were closed to high sided vehicles.

Drivers were urged to take care as roads across the country were affected by flooding, surface water and fallen trees.

Chief Inspector Graeme Murdoch, senior duty officer for Police Scotland's Highland and Islands Division, said: "The weather that has affected wide areas of the Highlands and Islands during the course of the afternoon has caused some disruption to travel with cancellation of some ferry services and isolated areas of flooding on roads.

"Our information suggests that there are no significant power outages across the region although there may be isolated homes affected. We also appeal to people to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and to inform the emergency services if anyone in the community requires particular help or assistance.

"Our main message is to think twice about unnecessary travel while these stormy weather conditions persist. Surface water and the risk of falling trees during the hours of darkness will create additional hazards for drivers."

The fire service said a round 20 people were evacuated from Whitburn Junior Social Club in Whitburn, West Lothian, and an adjacent bungalow, after heavy tin roof sheeting blew off a nearby pavilion onto both buildings at about 12pm. No-one was hurt in the incident.

Flood warnings - indicating that flooding is expected - have been put in place for parts of Tayside along the rivers Earn and Lyon.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said heavy rain is expected to continue to fall until early Sunday morning and low-lying land in the area could be at risk.

Flood alerts - warning of the possibility of flooding - remain in force in coastal areas in the north and west.

Large seas and gale force winds could result in flooding at high tide along exposed coastlines and on low lying land and roads, SEPA said.

Gale-force winds are expected to continue to affect the west coast tomorrow, with the Met Office severe weather warning remaining in place for the Highlands, Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland and Strathclyde.

John Griffiths, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said an area of low pressure was moving across northern parts of Scotland towards Iceland.

He said: "It's going to be pretty windy again tomorrow with rain moving in again in the afternoon into most areas.

"There will be quite severe gales in northern parts of Scotland and on the western coast throughout Sunday as the low pressure swings right past Scotland."

The severe weather comes in the wake of a storm that battered the country with winds of up to 142mph earlier this month.

A lorry driver died, thousands of homes were left without power and commuters faced major travel disruption on December 5.

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