Gales forecast for Scotland - plan ahead for travel
There is the possibility of gusts of up to 70 mph in these areas and winds could reach up to 80 or 90 mph in more exposed regions, especially during the second half of the day.
While the rest of the country, apart from Shetland, should not expect such severe conditions they are covered by a yellow “be aware” warning for strong winds.
Transport Scotland and our partners, including the local authorities, SEPA and Police Scotland are closely monitoring the situation to make sure that we are well prepared for the conditions and we are activating our Multi Agency Response Team at the National Traffic Control Centre in South Queensferry.
The Scottish Government’s Resilience operation is also actively monitoring weather developments and receiving regular updates from the Met Office, SEPA and the utilities companies, as well as keeping in touch with emergency responders and councils at a local level in the areas likely to be affected by adverse weather.
Traffic Scotland Operator Manager Stein Connelly said:
“This is obviously the time of year when many people are traveling home for the festive season and we would urge them to take the weather conditions into consideration when they are planning their journeys.
“The Met Office is telling us that the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the North West Highlands and the Northern Isles will be particularly badly affected by the winds and we would remind people that bridges in these areas may have to close at some points during the day.
“The rest of the country will experience some strong winds and this could lead to some isolated problems on the roads.
“The message, as always, is to make sure you have as much information as possible before starting your journey and to consider when you travel.
“Our Multi Agency Response Team will be monitoring the conditions from our control centre and the Traffic Scotland twitter feed @trafficscotland and website will have the latest information on conditions across the country.”
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) is urging anyone intending to travel by ferry over the holiday period to be as flexible as they can when planning their journeys.
A CalMac spokesman said:
“We have been advised that there will be prolonged periods of severe weather hitting Scotland over the next couple of weeks including the Christmas and New Year holiday period. As a result our services may experience cancellations and/or disruptions.
“Due to the impact of this weather it is likely that our timetables and sailings will change at very short notice as we endeavour to maintain lifeline services.
“We would therefore ask customers to check the website for the latest information and be prepared to be flexible if at all possible. This may mean delays but also the possibility of some sailings being earlier than timetabled.
“The passenger service between Gourock and Dunoon operated by CalMac’s sister company, Argyll Ferries, may also be affected. The latest information on that service can be found at the website.
“We fully appreciate that these disruptions will be inconvenient but the safety of passengers, crew and ships is our number one priority.”
The Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter campaign, delivered in partnership with the British Red Cross, provides the public with a range of advice and information on preparing for winter weather. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org
The Multi Agency Response Team (MART), based at the Traffic Control Centre in South Queensferry, includes representatives from Traffic Scotland, Transport Scotland, the police, rail operators, road operating companies and the Met Office.
In light of the Met Office warning, trunk road operating companies have all their resources available, including patrols, and will pre-position resources in areas of special attention.
For real time journey information visit www.trafficscotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 028 14 14.
The full Alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the Alerts, are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
Rail, ferries and air users should check with individual service operators’ websites.
For more advice and guidance: www.sepa.org.uk/flooding or via Floodline 0845 9881188 At 10am every day SEPA issues to registered media a summary of Flood Warnings & Alerts currently in force. When there are Warnings in force this gets issued more frequently, usually every four hours. If your organisation has not signed up for this free bulletin and you would like it, please request it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org