Scotland battered by rain, gales and blizzards

Tourists take cover in Edinburgh as heavy rain and storms hit Scotland. Picture: PA
Tourists take cover in Edinburgh as heavy rain and storms hit Scotland. Picture: PA
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A NORTH Sea oil platform was shut down yesterday following forecasts of severe weather – with most of Scotland battered in a day of high winds, rain and snow.

Seventy-five people were airlifted from the Buchan Alpha installation after warnings of high waves. Talisman Sinopec Energy UK said normal operations would resume when the weather improved.

Yesterday also saw disruption on the roads, caused by heavy downpours and snowy conditions in some areas, with a number of flood alerts also in place.

Forecasters warned gusts of up to 80mph could hit many parts of Scotland today, particularly in the north and in the Western Isles.

The Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” warnings of high winds for Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands, Western Isles and Strathclyde. It also issued yellow warnings of ice for all parts of Scotland and snow for Strathclyde, Central, Tayside and Fife.

Talisman Sinopec Energy UK said it would continue to monitor weather conditions before deciding to resume work on Buchan Alpha.

“The safety of all of those who work on our sites remains of paramount importance,” a spokesman said.

The blast of severe weather over the weekend also saw the cancellation of a torchlight parade being held to mark six months to go until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, due to a forecast of heavy rain.

About 1,500 people were expected to take part in the University of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Torchlight Procession, starting at 4pm and taking a route from Glasgow Cathedral through the city centre to the university.

A university spokesman said the decision to cancel was made “in the interest of public safety”.

“This is really disappointing for everyone working on the event and for the many people who had registered to take part,” the spokesman said.

“If there is any possibility to reschedule for a future date we will, and discussions will take place with Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland.”

Traffic Scotland reported numerous weather-related problems on the roads.

The snow gates on the A93 between Braemar and Spittal of Glenshee were closed, while the Friarton and Skye Bridges were closed for a time to high-sided vehicles.

Surface water affected routes in Dumfries and Galloway and Strathclyde, while near Stirling, the A809 was closed due to flooding between Strathendrick Golf Course and the B834.

In North Ayrshire the A760 Dalry Road was also shut between Largs Golf Club and Kilbirnie.

Traffic Scotland said rain and snow would affect parts of Scotland today. “The snow will affect the higher routes across parts of central Scotland with drifting in the gale force winds which will accompany the snow,” it said.

“The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel as well as difficult driving conditions with a risk of blizzards at times.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued four “alerts” of possible flooding for Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Arran, and West Central Scotland.

A more severe “flood warning” – meaning flooding was expected – was in place in Whitesands, due to rising river levels on the Nith in Dumfries following the heavy rainfall.

Dave Clark, forecaster at the Met Office in Aberdeen, said last night there were warnings of ice mainly in eastern areas.

Heavy rain was forecast overnight in the west of the country.

Mr Clark said there would be more rain and snow towards the middle of the week in some northern areas.

“We are looking at a couple of inches of rain at low levels and very saturated ground, so we have alerts out for that,” he said.

“It’s going to put quite a lot of snow on high ground. So the ski resorts will see quite a lot of snow, perhaps 4in.”

In the west of the country, the weather was expected to be more showery, becoming lighter as the week went on, he said.