Weather updates: Police warn against all travel
Police have warned that all travel should be avoided in central Scotland this afternoon as winds reach speeds of 90mph in parts of the country.
The unprecedented warning came from forces in Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway, Central Scotland and Lothian and Borders.
It applies until 9pm this evening.
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18.30: There is a risk of flash flooding across the Highlands and Islands tonight, police have said.
18.15: Caledonian Sleeper trains expected to run tonight with the exception of Fort William to Euston which has been cancelled, ScotRail have said.
18.00: The Forth Road Bridge is now open to cars only.
17.50: Traffic on the Kincardine Bridge is heavier than normal due to the closure of the Forth Road bridge.
17.30: Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said winds would affect the north east, Moray Firth, Inverness, Caithness and Orkney on Thursday night and into Friday morning.
17.05: Glasgow City Council advise that its schools and nurseries should open as normal tomorrow.
17.00: The Association of Chief Police Officers is extending its “do not travel” warning from 7pm to 9pm.
16.50: The A9 is closed in both directions between Dunkeld and Killiecrankie due to fallen trees.
16.00: The wind speed at the summit of Cairngorm has reached 165mph. The record stands at 173mph.
15.50: Caledonian MacBrayne confirms that all ferry services are suspended for the rest of the day.
15.45: Part of Union Street in Aberdeen has been closed due to structural concerns over adjacent buildings.
15.30: Saturday’s football match between Ayr United and Ross County has been postponed due to structural damage at Somerset Park.
15.15: Glasgow Airport says it expects to have to cancel more flights as the severe weather continues.
15.00: The highest wind speed recorded in Scotland today was 151mph, on the summit of Cairngorm. At Aonach Mor ski centre near Fort William a wind speed of 130mph was recorded. On lower-lying areas speeds are averaging between 70mph and 90mph.
14.55: Train services between Aviemore and Inverness are disrupted because of obstructions on the line - ScotRail.
14.50: Edinburgh Airport has had 17 cancellations and four diversions due to the weather.
14:35: Rail services remain disrupted with East Coast rail imposing a 50mph speed restriction on trains travelling north of Edinburgh. Scotrail has also brought in a 50 mile limit on all trains.
14:30: Strathclyde University has joined Glasgow Caledonian University in cancelling all classes.
14.00: Stagecoach has cancelled all bus services between Fife and Edinburgh.
13.55: The train operator East Coast is advising customers not to travel north of Edinburgh for the remainder of the today, due to worsening severe weather conditions.
13.40: In the Western Isles police are advising people to remain indoors as winds increase on Barra and South Uist.
13.20: Most of Glasgow’s museums, galleries, libraries and sports facilities are closing to the public and staff are being sent home.
13.10: Thousands of people are without electricity in Argyll and the Western Isles, according to energy company Scottish Hydro.
13.05: The A78, between Skelmorlie and Largs in Ayrshire, is also closed as the carriageway flooded.
12.50: Glasgow Caledonian University has said it will close “all but vital services” from 12.30pm. Of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, Aberdeen City Council, Angus Council, Dundee City Council, Scottish Borders Council, Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council have no plans to close schools today.
12.20: Strathclyde Police are warning motorists to avoid travelling on the roads throughout the Strathclyde area, as they may experience extreme delays of several hours or more. The force also warn that congestion may restict the emergency services from providing essential assistance.
The Forth Road Bridge is now closed to all traffic, after a gust of 84mph was recorded. The Tay Bridge and the Erskine Bridge are also closed.
The bridge is likely to be closed to high-sided vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and cars with trailers, roof boxes or caravans for much of the day.
Drivers were told to “exercise extreme caution” and to check conditions before travelling.
Part of the A8 in Renfrewshire was closed between the Langbank roundabout and the Woodhall roundabout in both directions because of flooding.
Dumfries and Galloway police warned of hazardous conditions throughout the area, with surface water and flooding on roads with the A74 in Moffat badly hit by flooding.
Water was also building up on the surface of the M8 between Livingston and Hermiston Gait in Edinburgh.
In Stirlingshire, the M9 was also restricted in both directions between junction 9 at Bannockburn and junction 11 at Dunblane because of surface water.
In Tayside, snow closed the Spittal of Glenshee area and flooding is being reported on the A9.
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Schools in many parts of Scotland are shut today, with more closing at lunchtime.
Eight local authorities closed all their schools early this morning, while at least six more said schools would shut at lunchtime.
Winds of up to 100mph have been forecast, with the strongest gusts expected to hit the west of Scotland and the central belt from 12pm, and from 3pm in the east, hitting rush-hour traffic.
No school in Glasgow - Scotland’s biggest local authority - will open today.
East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire councils also said all there schools were closed.
All classes at Glasgow and Strathclyde universities were cancelled, affecting thousands of students.
Glasgow Caledonian university was open, but asked students to take travel advice if they planned to come in.
The weather also brought disruption to the country’s transport network.
ScotRail has introduced speed restrictions of 50mph on all trains in case of falling trees and other debris, and damage to overhead power lines.
East Coast rail said there were extended journey times on its services north of Edinburgh due to 50mph speed restrictions.
Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to North Uist, Harris, Mull, Islay, Gigha, Coll and Tiree, and Arran were cancelled, and other sailings everely disrupted.
Today: Very stormy weather will move across Scotland. Gusts of around 70-80mph are likely, with 90mph possible in exposed locations. The Met office has urged people to keep up to date with the latest forecasts. Max temp, 7-10C; minimum 0C.
Tomorrow: A blast of cold air will bring heavy snow showers to the west coast, but fewer in the east. Argyll and the northwest Highlands will be worst affected, with small amounts of snow in Glasgow. Max temp, 4C; min -2 to -5C.
Saturday: More snow showers across Scotland, especially in the west, with winds easing. It will be a cold day with a maximum temperature of around 4C, although some areas will barely get above freezing. Minimum overnight temperature of -10C is expected in rural areas.
• For more information on the forecast, visit the Met Office website
• For information about the roads, visit trafficscotland.org
• The latest rail information is available from National Rail
• Detailed school closures can be found on local council websites and local radio
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west