Highlands & Islands

Snow and large waves as winter storms continue

Snow at Laggan in the Highlands. Pic: Andrew Smith
Image caption Snow on the hills at Laggan in the Cairngorms

Heavy snow has fallen over high ground in large parts of Scotland as gales and storm force winds continue to batter the north of the country.

The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning for the Highlands, Western Isles and Northern Isles until Sunday because of the high winds.

Waves out to sea, off the Western Isles, were recorded on Thursday reaching heights of 14.8m (48.5ft).

The measurements were recorded by buoys monitored by a university's staff.

Warnings of possible flooding have been issued for several areas of Scotland because of heavy rain falls.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has put out flood alerts for Argyll and Bute, Caithness and Sutherland and Dumfries and Galloway.

Image caption Wave height measurements recorded by equipment monitored by UHI

Also at risk are parts of Orkney, Shetland, Skye and Lochaber, Wester Ross and the Western Isles.

For the Western Isles, the alert warns of a spray and waves at high tide increasing the risk of flooding in low-lying areas later and on Saturday morning.

The local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: "Any impacts are expected to be greatest on Saturday morning.

"Areas most at risk include exposed, low-lying, westerly and southerly facing coastal areas.

"However, some exposed eastern coastal areas, particularly around Stornoway, may also see some impacts. Inland areas are not at risk of flooding at present."

The bad weather has also disrupted ferry services operated by Caledonian MacBrayne.

Ski season

Met Office forecasters expect strong winds - possibly reaching storm force on the Northern Isles - to continue until Sunday.

During gales on Thursday, a Met Office buoy, off the Western Isles, recorded wave heights reaching 14.3m (47.2ft).

Image caption Snow on a children's play house in Grantown on Spey in the Cairngorms

A buoy owned by marine power developer Voith Wavegen and monitored by University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) staff on Lewis recorded higher waves closer to the islands.

The equipment off Loch Roag recorded waves of 14.8m (48.5ft). The average wave height was about 9m (29.5ft).

Meanwhile, snow has been falling over Scotland's mountain and hills.

Cairngorm Mountain ski centre's operations manager Colin Matthew said if snow and freezing temperatures continued the new ski season could possibly start next weekend.

On his YouTube blog, Mr Matthew said: "I went to check the slopes. Not quite enough snow yet to open.

"The forecast is a freeze-thaw cycle over the next few days then significantly colder.

"Most forecast models are saying significant snowfalls over the hills. Hopefully it keeps going."

Nevis Range ski resort has also been reporting snowfalls to about 450m (1,476ft).

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