Disruption warning as Storm Caroline approaches

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    Graphic illustrating wind conditions on ThursdayImage copyright earth.nullschool.net
    Image caption An illustration of expected high winds on Thursday

    Warnings of disruption to road, rail and ferry transport in Scotland have been issued as Storm Caroline strikes and wintry weather is due in its wake.

    The Met Office has amber “be prepared” and yellow “be aware” warnings in place for Thursday’s storm for Scotland.

    Yellow warnings have been issued for snow, ice and wind on Friday and Saturday for large parts of the UK.

    Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf, said the country faced “challenging conditions”.

    All schools on Lewis, Harris and Uist in the Western Isles will be closed to pupils on Thursday as a precaution.

    Speed restrictions

    ScotRail Alliance said that because of the Met Office forecast for winds gusting to up to 90mph in some areas, it had suspended the following services:

    • Aberdeen to Inverness
    • Inverness to Wick
    • Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh
    • Glasgow Queen Street to Oban/Fort William/Mallaig

    Speed restrictions will also be in place for services between Perth and Aberdeen and Perth and Inverness as winds of up to 60 mph are expected in areas those routes pass through.

    ScotRail Alliance said this would mean trains would be slower and services would be disrupted.

    ‘Challenging conditions’

    Ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne and Northlink Ferries warned of cancellations and disruption to routes on Scotland’s west and north coasts.

    Due to concerns about large waves during the storm, all personnel have been taken off the North Sea platform Ninian Southern off Shetland and production shut down.

    CairnGorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore said it would be closed on Thursday because of the expected high winds.

    Image copyright MetOffice
    Image caption The Met Office amber warning covers the north of mainland Scotland and the Northern Isles

    The Scottish government held a resilience meeting on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the storm.

    Mr Yousaf said: “We are facing some challenging weather conditions in the next few days as a result of Storm Caroline and we will be working closely with our partners to try to mitigate the worst of these and get information out to the public so that they can plan their journeys.

    “Disruption is very likely but we will make every effort to recover the network as quickly as possible when incidents do occur.”

    He said strong winds were likely to result in restrictions and closures on road bridges on Thursday morning.

    Gritter tracker

    Mr Yousaf added: “Moving forward, snow and ice will become more of a feature of the storm and our gritters and patrols will be out across the network.

    “There is plenty of salt available and new vehicles are being trialled to improve our response. Our gritter tracker is back online so that people can see where our gritters have been out in their area.”

    Graeme Macfarlan, commercial director of CalMac, said disruption to ferry services on Thursday was “a high possibility”.

    He said: “We would urge passengers who need to travel, to allow extra time for their journey and to keep track of the status of their sailing on the website before setting out on their journey.”

    Check out the latest travel news for Scotland

    Image copyright PA

    Around the country you can check for updates from:

    Alternatively, for regular travel bulletins listen live to BBC Radio Scotland and follow @BBCTravelScot.

    In times of severe disruption you can also follow the BBC Scotland severe weather Twitter list of key sources.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-42256808

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