Storm Malik: Stay away from forests warning as amber weather alert for 80mph winds issued

The east coast of Scotland is set to be battered by strong winds after a weather alert was upgraded to amber, with an urgent warning to stay away from forestry areas.

The alert for Storm Malik warns of potential wind speeds of 80mph on Saturday 29 January from 7 am until mid-afternoon.

Forestry and Land Scotland is warning people to avoid the east coast forests, and Network Rail says trains will be affected, with speed restrictions on a number of lines.

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The Met Office says Storm Malik will hit Scotland between 7am and 3pm on Saturday, January 29, bringing disruption across eastern Scotland, stretching from Elgin down to Peebles.

Storm Arwen caused devastation

The forecaster says road, rail, air and ferry services are likely to be affected, leading to longer journey times and some cancellations

Some roads and bridges are likely to close, with a good chance of power cuts for some residents.

The Met Office said of the warning: “An area of very strong west or northwest winds will cross Scotland on Saturday morning in association with Storm Malik before easing during the afternoon.

"The strongest winds are expected in the east of Scotland later in the morning.

The strong winds could bring disruption and closures.

"Gusts of widely 50-60 mph are likely with a short period of gusts in excess of 75 mph, particularly for Moray and north Aberdeenshire as well as the Lothians.”

Trefor Owen, Forestry and Land Scotland Director of Land Management, said unstable trees could present a high risk to anyone in forestry areas: “Everyone has seen the impact of Storm Arwen and is aware of how much damage strong winds can do.

“Storm Malik is not expected to be quite as strong but with many trees in our east coast forests already made unstable after the previous storm, the risk of more storm damage to trees is high. There could also be damage to forests that escaped the worst of Storm Arwen’s impact.

“Members of the public have been very cooperative in staying out of previously affected forests.

“We would now ask that for the duration of the storm warning tomorrow, people avoid visiting any of our east coast forests in the interests of their own safety.”

Meanwhile Network Rail says it will be introducing speed restrictions on some lines, including on parts of the Dundee-Aberdeen, Aberdeen-Inverness, Far North, West Highland and Kyle lines on Saturday morning into the early afternoon.

It added that the East Coast Mainline, North Berwick branch line, and Borders Railway are also set to be affected.

The speed restrictions are being introduced for safety reasons as the wind speed predicted could blow trees and other debris onto the tracks and cause damage to overhead power lines.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail route director for Scotland, said: “The safety of our customers and colleagues is our first consideration during severe weather.

"We are monitoring the conditions very closely and have teams in place across the country ready to react quickly to any damage caused by the weather.”

An additional yellow warning for wind is still in place across Scotland and northern England from 6pm on Sunday until 12pm on Monday.

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