Scotland’s weather: warning of gales and blizzards

Winds of up to 70mph are expected to hit Scotland. Picture: John Devlin
Winds of up to 70mph are expected to hit Scotland. Picture: John Devlin
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WINDS of up to 70mph are forecast to batter Scotland today, followed by ice and blizzards overnight, the Met Office warned.

It said travellers could face hazardous conditions and disruption, including from tree damage.

The agency issued a yellow - “be aware” - severe weather alert for gales across southern Scotland and the southern Hebrides until 7pm.

A further warning, for snow over much of the mainland, mainly on higher ground, will be in force from 9pm until 10am tomorrow.

Police reported heavy snow and poor visibility on the M74 today, while high-sided vehicles were banned from the Forth Road Bridge amid gusts approaching 50mph.

The Erskine Bridge over the Clyde had a similar restriction in force, and sailings on five of CalMac’s west coast ferry routes were cancelled.

The Met Office said: “Northwesterly gales will continue for parts of southern and western Scotland, and for much of Northern Ireland, northern and eastern England and north Wales during Tuesday.

“Gusts of 50-60mph will occur in places, particularly in association with squally showers, and with isolated gusts to around 70mph in exposed locations in south-west Scotland and along some coastal stretches of Northern Ireland.”

The agency said the strong, cold winds from the north west would bring snow and ice as an additional hazard tonight.

It said: “Icy patches are expected to form on untreated surfaces later on Tuesday evening and overnight, following wintry showers which leave surfaces wet.

“These showers may also leave temporary slight accumulations of snow at lower levels in the north, but snow is more likely to affect higher level routes, with 2cm above 200m and 5cm or so above 400m, although primarily on grassy surfaces.

“Strong winds will lead to drifting and temporary blizzard conditions on the more exposed routes.

“The public should be aware of potential hazardous travelling conditions.”

Sections of the A9 around the Drumochter and Slochd summits between Blair Atholl and Inverness are above 400m.

Around 25 sections of the trunk road network are above 200m, including on the A9, A74(M), and the A702, which links the motorway to Edinburgh.

South of the Border, fierce winds disrupted road and rail travel, and a crewman was rescued from a sinking tug.

There were winds up to 70mph overnight in parts of North Wales, the Bristol Channel and East Anglia.

Fallen trees blocked railway lines, and busy bridge routes had to be closed, including the Dartford Crossing QEII Bridge on the M25, the Ouse Bridge on the M62, and the M48 Severn Bridge.

The high winds led to trains running at reduced speed in north-west England, with delays of up to an hour in the Warrington Bank Quay/Oxenholme Lake District area and in the Carnforth area.

The tug rescue was at the Esso refinery marine terminal at Fawley in Hampshire, where the Asterix had got into difficulties.

One person was seen to jump in the water and was taken to the shore to be treated for hypothermia.

But an employee at the Fawley refinery spotted that a man remained in the vessel and jumped into the water to help rescue him.

A Cowes lifeboat spokesman said: “A Fawley emergency employee who was watching the capsized vessel from the pontoon then just glimpsed an arm in a small pocket of air behind a window.

“Without hesitation, the employee leapt into the water, smashed the window and extracted the trapped crew member.”

A coastguard said that all crew in the incident, at around 7:15pm yesterday, had been accounted for.

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