POLICE Scotland have issued a fresh storm warning for parts of the Highlands and the Western Isles with heavy rain and gales, gusting to 80mph, expected to sweep across the area during the day.
A force spokesman said the worsening weather conditions would bring the risk of power failures and “minor damage” to parts of the region before the winds begin to abate.
The Met Office has also issued a yellow “be aware” warning for the Highland and Islands, Orkney and Shetland and parts of Strathclyde for today. And three flood warnings remain in force for parts of Tayside.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police advise that areas of the Highlands and Islands will once again be affected by stormy weather conditions throughout the day on Sunday, particularly affecting the west coast of the Highlands and the Western Isles.
“Increasing winds and potentially heavy rain throughout the afternoon may cause some occurrences of minor damage or cause debris to come down on roads.”
He added: “Police Scotland officers will be working with Highland Council and Bear Scotland to monitor any localised flooding and will ensure appropriate signage and warnings are in place.”
Chief Inspector Graeme Murdoch, senior duty officer for the force’s Highland and Islands Division said: “The weather that has affected wide areas of the Highlands and Islands yesterday is likely to be repeated during the course of Sunday”.
“Our information suggests that there are currently no significant power outages across the region although there is the possibility that isolated homes or areas could be affected. We again appeal to people to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and to inform the emergency services if anyone in the community requires particular help or assistance. Any power outages can be reported directly to power companies by calling 0800 300 999.”
He added: “Our message, as it was yesterday, is to think twice about unnecessary travel while these stormy weather conditions persist. Surface water and the risk of falling trees during the hours of darkness may create additional hazards for drivers. If you have to take your vehicle out today, please take extra care and moderate your speed and driving according to the conditions. We will continue to monitor conditions over the hours to come and will report any issues as they arise”.
A Met Office spokesman said: “Another spell of very windy weather is expected across the North and North west of Scotland on Sunday. There is potential for southerly gusts of 70 mph in places, perhaps locally to around 80 mph in exposed parts of the Western Isles.
“Large waves, particularly around times of high tide, may overtop exposed coasts and causeways. Another very vigorous area of low pressure is currently passing to the northwest of Britain, fortunately far enough away to steer its core of intense winds away from UK land areas. Nevertheless, another period of very strong winds, along with an active squally cold front, will lead to some difficult conditions across the North west corner of the British Isles during the next few hours.”
Three flood warnings remain in force for stretches of the Tay Valley in Tayside - Glen Lyon, Ballinluig to Logierait, and Grandtully Bridge to Logierait Viaduct. A SEPA spokesman said river levels in the area were high due to heavy rainfall during Saturday afternoon, leaving low lying agricultural land at risk of flooding.
Ferry services disrupted by winds
Ferries were worst hit by yesterday’s severe weather, with sailings cancelled on dozens of routes.
Flooding, high tides and fallen trees hit roads, bridges and railway lines, with strong winds also affecting flights. Christmas attractions in Edinburgh city centre were also closed by the winds.
The Met Office has a yellow – be aware – severe weather warning in force for today covering the west coast from Jura to Cape Wrath, and the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.
It said: “Another spell of very windy weather is expected across the far north and north-west of Scotland on Sunday.
“There is potential for southerly gusts of 70-80mph, and perhaps more in exposed parts of the Western Isles.”
Forecasters also warned of large waves crashing ashore, particularly around high tide.
“The public should be aware of the risk of further disruption to transport and other outdoor activities.”
Winds yesterday reached 111mph on high ground near Tomintoul in Moray, and 102mph on the Applecross peninsula in Wester Ross.
There were gusts of 65mph in South Uist, while Edinburgh and Glasgow were buffeted by winds of up to 47mph.
All 25 of CalMac’s west coast routes were disrupted amid 66mph winds, with all sailings on a third of them cancelled.
Ferries were also suspended between Gourock and Dunoon, and between Orkney and Caithness.
Traffic restrictions were imposed on road bridges including the Forth, Tay, Kessock and Skye.
Fallen trees blocked roads such as the A81 in Callander and A77 near Ballantrae in Ayrshire, while flooded routes included the M8 in Glasgow, A814 in Faslane and the A907 at Causewayhead, near Stirling.
On the railways, trains were halted between Kilwinning, Largs and Ardrossan Harbour because of high tides at Saltcoats in Ayrshire, where the line runs close to the shore. Overhead power lines were turned off as a precaution.
Overhead line problems closed the Dumbarton-Helensburgh line, while flooding shut the Gourock-Port Glasgow route and a tree blocked tracks near Blantyre in Lanarkshire.
Several flights were delayed or cancelled.
Historic Scotland shut Dumbarton Castle, and it closed Edinburgh Castle to new admissions by the early afternoon.
Christmas attractions forced to close in Edinburgh included the Big Wheel, carousels and the Santa Train in Princes Street Gardens.
Several football matches were called off, including Stenhousemuir v Rangers after structural damage to one of the stands at Ochilview Park.
Flood warnings covered three stretches of the River Earn in Perthshire.