Travellers Hit By Hurricane's Tail
21 October 2014, 06:15 | Updated: 21 October 2014, 08:36
Gale-force winds and heavy rain are causing disruption for people travelling today, as the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo pass over the country.
The west coast is expected to be worst affected, with winds of around 75mph predicted in exposed parts of Argyll and the islands.
A gust of 63mph was recorded in Salsburgh in North Lanarkshire in the early hours, while a 62mph gust hit Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre at around 5am.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for the whole of Scotland today, with the storm predicted to cause disruption, particularly to travel.
CalMac has cancelled its Small Isles services and all sailings between Ullapool and Stornoway due to the adverse weather, while there is disruption on many of its other routes.
NorthLink ferries has cancelled its 4.45pm sailing from Stromness on Orkney and its 7pm sailing from Scrabster on the mainland, while P&O Ferries said that all sailings on the Larne/Cairnryan service were suspended from 2am due to the severe adverse weather.
On the roads, the Skye Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Erskine Bridge and Dornoch Bridge have been closed to high-sided vehicles.
Gonzalo caused widespread damage and a power blackout when it hit Bermuda last week, and it is now sweeping over the UK and into Europe.
Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll has arrived in the small British territory to assist in the relief effort after the hurricane.
The strong winds are expected to remain in Scotland for almost 24 hours.
Sean Tenston, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "It should brighten up somewhat by midday but it will remain windy throughout with gusts of 70mph along coastal parts in the afternoon.
"Temperatures will struggle to reach double figures generally so it will remain cool, but the winds should gradually ease off into the night, but it is looking like a full 18 to 24-hour period of sustained winter weather.
"What we're seeing is the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo, which are now an extra-tropical depression, crossing the UK.''
Commuters have been urged to take care in the weather during rush-hour and warned of potential disruption.
Traffic Scotland said: "Gales, and more locally severe gales, are expected to affect much of the country on Tuesday. Whilst Monday night will see wet and windy conditions sweeping eastwards, the strongest winds are expected to occur after the rain clears and winds veer north-westerly through Tuesday morning.
"The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel and possible damage to trees. Difficult driving conditions will result, perhaps exacerbated by surface water and spray in places.''
Police have also issued advice to drivers with standing water and spray expected on the roads with up to 0.8in (20mm) of rain forecast to fall in a short period.
Transport Minister Keith Brown told BBC Radio Scotland: "We have some localised issues, for example fallen trees on some roads, we have some flooding, and of course disruption to some ferry services because of the high winds, which seem to be the biggest issue just now.''
Urging people to take extra care when out and about, he said: "For some parts of Scotland, it will become particularly more pronounced during the evening hours and in the coastal communities of Scotland but the same advice is true for everyone: if you can, take as much information on board from bulletins and also make sure that you give yourself that additional time.
"And one or two other precautions to make sure that if you do find yourself in some kind of trouble in terms of not being able to move in your car that you have a mobile phone, that you have a blanket, you have water.''