THE MET OFFICE yesterday issued an Amber alert for much of the north – including Moray – with high winds expected to arrive by Friday.
A ‘Be Prepared’ warning of severe or hazardous weather has sparked precautions by the Scottish Government with travel expected to be disrupted during what is one of the busiest times of the year.
If the forecasts arrive as expected then conditions could bring disruption to the transport network with restrictions on road bridges and cancellations or amended timetables on ferry services and at airports.
The Scottish Government say that those planning to travel should take the conditions into account and check their operators’ websites for the latest information before they set-off on their journeys.
Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf said: “I have been at the National Traffic Control Centre this morning to get the latest on the conditions and we will be working with our partners across this week and the weekend to do all we can to help get people to where they want to be safely.
“Our National Traffic Control Centre will be operational across the period with our Multi Agency Response Team active on the days leading up to Christmas.
“Ferries are particularly susceptible to disruption due to high winds and we may also see some disruption to flights. Those planning to fly or use ferries this festive period should check with their operators for the latest information and consider the forecast as part of their plans.
“The ScotRail Alliance is also geared up for any inclement weather and information has been posted on its website detailing travel arrangements over the festive period and this will be updated as required. Additional staff will be brought in along with specialist equipment to deal with winter weather effects.
“Our operating companies will be out on the network to clear any debris from the trunk roads and to make sure that the risk of any flooding is minimised where possible. They will also be carrying out Winter treatments where required and you can see where they have been active on our gritter tracker.
“Traffic Scotland will have details of any trunk road incidents and the website and Twitter feed will be kept fully up to date with all of the real time information that drivers need to travel safely.”
The Met Office warning says: “A spell of very strong south to southwesterly winds is expected to develop on Friday.
“Gusts of 60 to 70 mph are likely quite widely, with westerly winds gusting to 80-90 mph likely across parts of western and northern Scotland later on Friday and overnight into Saturday. Winds will then moderate on Saturday morning.
“Be aware of the potential for some structural damage – this more likely across the northwest of the warning area – as well as disruption to power supplies and travel, with restrictions on bridges and disruption to ferries.”