Flood alerts as Storm Ciara sweeps across Scotland

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Lorry blown over on A96 in InvernessImage source, Andrew Smith
Image caption,
Police attend after a lorry is blown over on the A96 in Inverness

Scotland is on flood alert as rain and high winds sweep in with the onset of Storm Ciara.

The Met Office has issued amber and yellow warnings for rain and strong winds across Scotland, with gusts of 80mph or higher possible.

Airlines have cancelled several domestic flights to and from Scottish airports and ScotRail has suspended a number of services.

Vehicle restrictions are in place on most of Scotland's bridges.

Gusts of 63mph were recorded in South Uist, Tiree and Stornoway on Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters have predicted disruption to transport, damage to buildings and a "good chance" of power cuts due to the conditions.

'Extremely problematic'

Scottish Borders Council urged residents to be prepared for potential floods. The warning area covers Galashiels, Hawick, Selkirk, Kelso and Jedburgh, and upper reaches of local rivers are already starting to rise following rainfall throughout the day on Saturday.

It is predicted that up to 50mm of rain will fall across the warning area, with up to 70mm possible over higher ground.

Image source, Stuart Cowper
Image caption,
Part of the roof collapsed at The Venue bar and nightclub in Perth

In Perth, three people were injured after part of the roof collapsed at The Venue nightclub on Saturday night.

The fire service said three people were passed into the care of the ambulance service, though none of them was seriously injured.

ScotRail reported disruptions to services between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh, Glasgow to Fort William, Oban to Mallaig, from Kilwinning to Largs and Ardrossan and between Helensburgh Central and Dumbarton Central.

A spokeswoman said: "As with all weather-related disruption it's frustrating for customers whose services are cancelled or delayed but safety has to be our priority. We are doing all we can to keep our customers moving despite the effects of Storm Ciara.

"We ask that customers keep an eye on our website, app or twitter feed for live updates."

Network Rail said that winds of up to 90mph were expected on the West Highland Line.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The company tweeted: "We expect extreme winds of 80-90mph to affect the West Highland Line & Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh tomorrow. Services will be suspended on those routes during the worst of the weather tomorrow. It's not safe to run in these conditions.

"Once the storm passes, we'll inspect both routes with locomotives on Monday at first light for obstructions before reopening."

Ferry passengers also faced disruption with many Caledonian MacBrayne services cancelled due to the weather conditions.

Robert Morrison, Caledonian MacBrayne's director of operations, said: "Weather for the weekend is looking extremely problematic as far as delivering a scheduled timetable.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ferry services have been affected by the weather

"There is a very high possibility of weather related disruption to services across all 28 of our routes so people should be aware of this before setting off on their journey.

"We will of course be looking keep sailings running when conditions allow."

Storm Ciara, a low-pressure system, developed in the North Atlantic and has tracked eastwards towards the UK and Ireland over recent days.

It is the third named storm of the season, following Atiyah in December and Brendan in January.

Visitors battle strong winds during a thunderstorm at the annual Whitby Regatta, August 2019
Getty Images
Weather warnings guide

  • YellowSevere weather possible, plan ahead, travel may be disrupted

  • AmberIncreased likelihood of impact, eg travel delays, power cuts

  • RedDangerous weather expected - take action to keep safe

Source: Met Office

The Met Office amber warning for rain across south-west Scotland, Lothian and the borders took affect from 02:00 on Sunday until 10:00.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has also issued 15 regional flood alerts and 38 local flood warnings. The organisation said there would be a dangerous combination of high tides, storm surge & inshore waves across coastal areas. They also expected heavy rainfall cross Borders and Dumfries & Galloway

The storm is also expected to lead to delays and disruption on the roads and railways, with possible flooding to homes and businesses and short-term losses of power.

Image source, Met Office

Wind gusts are forecast to reach 50-60mph across many inland areas.

In Inverness, police were called after the container section of a lorry was detached in high winds and blown over on the A96 at Gollanfield, between Inverness and Nairn on Saturday evening.

Police across the country have issued safety warnings.

In Ayrshire, police urged people to pay attention to the weather and said local officers would be on patrol throughout the weekend to assist, while police in Tayside urged people to "take care and plan travel appropriately".

Forecasters at Magicseaweed.com, a website used by surfers to find the best surf conditions, said they expected "several pulses" of swell off north and west Scotland over the weekend and into next week.

Gale force winds could see wave heights of 6m (20ft) off exposed coastal areas at the weekend, rising to 9m (30ft) through Monday into Tuesday when winds are forecast to strengthen further.

Image source, Magicseaweed.com
Image caption,
Storm Ciara is approaching Britain and Ireland from the Atlantic

Transport Scotland has warned people to plan ahead and rail passengers are being urged not to travel on the East Coast Main Line between Scotland and London on Sunday.

Spokesman Douglas Cairns said: "The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings for this weekend, with Saturday and Sunday bringing the high winds and rain, and with Monday and Tuesday bringing snow as well.

"There's going to be significant disruption to the travelling public so we're asking them to plan ahead, be safe first and foremost, and check before you travel if you really have to travel."

Preparing for Storm Ciara

Image source, Getty Images

Sources of advice during severe weather include:

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