Scotland

Storm from Hurricane Katia hits Scotland

A man walks on the sea front at Largs, on the Firth of Clyde in Ayrshire
Image caption People have been urged to stay away from exposed coastal areas

Parts of Scotland are being battered by storm-force winds as the remnants of Hurricane Katia hit the UK.

People have been urged to stay away from exposed coastal areas.

Fallen trees have been causing some disruption on the roads and railways and hundreds of homes are without power in Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

Gusts of up to 85mph (137km/h) have been recorded. The Met Office issued an amber alert, warning possible damage to trees and structures.

The highest wind speed was recorded at Glen Ogle in the southern Highlands.

At Glasgow Airport gusts of 72mph (116km/h) were recorded and in Edinburgh gusts reached up to 76mph (122km/h).

Heavy rain was an additional hazard for western Scotland, with as much as 50mm (2in) to 100mm (4in) expected in places.

In Dumfries and Galloway, a fallen tree on the Dalbeattie to Sandyhills road at Colvend brought power lines down and left the area blacked out for several hours.

Power companies have extra call handlers and engineers on standby to deal with problems caused by the severe gales.

Scottish Power said it hoped to restore supplies to several hundred homes in Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway later on Monday, with a handful of homes in rural areas expected to be without power until Tuesday.

Travel disruption

Police in Ayrshire said several roads were affected by fallen trees and Lothian and Borders Police said a tree had come down top of a garage in Strathearn Place in Edinburgh.

A lorry was blown over on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful, causing some disruption to traffic.

ScotRail said fallen trees and power lines had affected services, including those between Glasgow Central and Largs/Ardrossan, at Gourock, Falkirk Grahamston and Bishopton.

Caledonian MacBrayne cancelled some ferries, Stena sailings from Stranraer to Belfast were suspended and P&O said its Fastcraft service from Cairnryan would not run at all on Monday and Tuesday.

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Media captionForecasters have warned of possible flooding in low-lying areas

The Tay Bridge imposed a 30mph speed limit and the Forth Road Bridge had a 40mph limit and was only open to cars.

The Nevis Range, near Fort William, which is open to mountain bikers outside the winter season, suspended the operation of its gondola and chairlifts because of high winds.

The high winds also closed tourist attractions in the capital, including Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh Castle and the Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend.

Historic Scotland said Inchcolm Abbey, Inchmahome Priory, Dumbarton Castle and Lochleven Castle had all been closed.

The emergency services put plans in place to deal with any weather-related disruption.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Officer David Goodhew said: "Crews are fully prepared to respond to whatever weather-related situations present themselves, and making sure that specialist flooding equipment, 4x4 vehicles and emergency response boats are being made ready to respond as required."

Tayside Police urged drivers to reduce their speed and be aware of the storm-force weather and gusting winds at all times.

People were also urged to safely store or secure items such as garden furniture, wheelie bins and trampolines.

The Met office said it was an unusually early storm for Scotland, which meant there was a greater risk of uprooted trees since they still had leaves on them.

This risk has been heightened by a period of wet weather, which has left the soil very wet.

A Met Office spokesman said: "The public should be prepared for the risk of disruption to transport and of the possibility of damage to trees and structures."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it was most concerned about the impact on coastal areas and has recommended that people stay away from exposed coastal routes.

It warned of a high likelihood of low impact coastal flooding and spray during the next 48 hours.

The Western Isles are particularly at risk of flooding, especially at around high tide about 19:00, said Sepa.

'Contingency arrangements'

Transport Minister Keith Brown said Transport Scotland's multi-agency response team would remain on alert to help keep the country moving.

The Scottish government's resilience room is monitoring developments and held another meeting on Monday afternoon.

Mr Brown said: "Extra resource is being moved in to areas likely to be affected.

"Strong winds and heavy rain are forecast for today and tomorrow making travel conditions difficult, however contingency arrangements are in place."

A spokesman for Scottish Hydro said: "Staff have been planning for potentially challenging weather conditions as strong winds and heavy rain are expected to pass over Scotland today and tomorrow.

"Plans are in place to reduce the potential impact of Hurricane Katia on the electricity network in the north of Scotland."

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