Met Office issues high winds warning

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The Met Office has warned that major travel disruption is likely across much of Central Scotland tomorrow afternoon due to strong winds of 75-80 miles per hour and potential gusts of up to 90mph.

A red alert warning has been issued for Central, Tayside, Fife, Strathclyde, south west Scotland and Lothian & Borders.

Such warnings are highly unusual and usually only issue once or twice a year.  With such severe weather forecast, Transport Scotland is urging people to pay attention to police travel warnings.  The BBC has forecast significant damage may result from winds up to 80 mph.

Police advise that conditions for travel between 3pm and 6pm are likely to be extremely poor and significant delays are expected.

This could lead to all main road bridges being closed and will have a severe impact on Thursday night’s rush hour.  Disruption to power supplies and property is also a strong possibility.

Transport Minister Keith Brown has this afternoon taken part in a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room.  Transport Scotland’s Multi-Agency Response Team (MART) will continue to operate for the remainder of the week.

Commenting Mr Brown said:

“[Thursday] looks set to be a major challenge for our transport system, commuters and the public.  I can assure them that a lot of work is already underway to ensure Scotland is prepared for any likely transport disruption caused by severe winds.  The Scottish Government’s Resilience Room is closely monitoring developments as is Transport Scotland’s Multi-Agency Response Team.

“We are in regular contact with the Met Office, the police, operating companies, power suppliers and other authorities and agencies to ensure everything that can be done is being done.  Transport Scotland have also held a separate conference call with Extreme Weather Action Team to discuss likely impact on the rail network where one of the main threats is debris being blown onto the railway and speed restrictions after the morning rush hour which will have an impact on timetables.

“Potentially many of our main road bridges could be closed at some point [Thursday] afternoon.  According to the Met Office the worst period will be from 3-6pm and they are confident that wind speeds will exceed 75 mph. They have issued a red alert, which suggest speeds could even exceed 90 mph.  As well as possible bridge closures we need to prepare for blown over vehicles and trees.”

Mr Brown advised travellers to allow extra time for travel, avoid unnecessary risks and keep checking websites and local radio for real-time information.

Assistant Chief Constable Allan Moffat on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland) – ACPOS -says:

“With weather conditions expected to change dramatically over the next 24 hours, I would ask motorists to plan ahead for any journeys by checking travel updates through television, radio and internet sites before they set off.

“If the weather is as severe as currently being predicted, then there will be a significant impact on the roads network with a high risk of disruption.

“As with any conditions that can make driving and travel hazardous, I would ask that people drive with caution, plan ahead to ensure routes are open and safe, and be prepared for any delays or disruption that could affect their journey.”