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Commuters battle gale force winds

GALE force winds battered Scotland today, causing delays and disruption for commuters.

Bridges were closed and ferry services cancelled as gusts of up to 90mph were expected to hit the north of the country.

The Skye Bridge was shut to high-sided vehicles and drivers were urged to take care on the Kessock crossing.

Central Scotland was also affected, with a flood watch issued for the Firth of Clyde coast.

Strathclyde Police said the Erskine Bridge was closed and the Tay Road Bridge was also shut to double decker buses.

The Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles, cars with trailers, caravans and bikes.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne said the Ullapool to Stornoway and Mallaig to Canna sailings were cancelled for the day.

Almost a dozen other services were suspended, including the Oban to Craignure and Ardrossan to Brodick crossings.

Grampian Police urged drivers to take care on tree-lined country roads.

A force spokesman said: “Strong winds are currently affecting the whole of the Grampian region and there are a number of reports of trees being blown down.”

Routes affected include the Fyvie to Cuminestown road, the A944 Tillyfourie to Mossat road at Alford, and the Cults to Kingswells road at Bieldside.

Officers said they were responding to reports of a large section of roof being blown off a building in Fraserburgh.

Forecaster Michael Dukes of MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the north east could see sleet and snow showers later in the day.

He said: "There are stormy conditions across northern Scotland, especially the northern isles, with winds of up to 90mph. It's blowing a storm there.

"The cold north westerly wind will bring sleet and snow showers at rush hour in the north east."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued a flood watch for the Firth of Clyde coastal areas last night.

The Agency said: "Severe gales and a positive surge are predicted around the time of high tide... so there could be a risk of flooding from wind-induced waves and spray, particularly on exposed coasts."

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