Highlands & Islands

Amber weather warning as high winds batter north and west Scotland

Wind damaged house
Image caption The gable end of a house in Leverburgh on Harris collapsed during the storm force winds

Severe gales and storm force winds have been battering north and west Scotland, with gusts of 84mph recorded on South Uist.

The gable end of a house in Leverburgh on Harris collapsed onto a neighbouring property in the high winds.

The Churchill Barriers in Orkney were closed. Some roads and causeways in the Western Isles also closed.

Image caption Orkney also took a battering from waves in the high winds

Coastguard teams helped the police close causeways between North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay.

Northern Constabulary said all roads on these islands were severely affected by heavy spray and debris.

Several schools on Orkney have been closed.

Police also closed the road through St Mary's village in Holm because of the amount of sea water.

Carol Collins, watch manager at Stornoway Coastguard, said: "This stormy Atlantic weather has been well forecast over the last few days, with an amber weather alert issued by the Met Office for the area and a flood alert issued for the Western Isles by Sepa.

"In these poor conditions, we ask that the public take extra care and avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary."

Neighbouring properties

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue said the wall on the semi-detached house in Dunmore Crescent in Leverburgh collapsed shortly before 22:00.

Fire crews were making the scene safe and people were moved out from neighbouring properties.

The Met Office had warnings in place for much of the country overnight and into Wednesday morning. Some travel disruption was expected.

Forecasters said a deep area of low pressure could result in winds reaching speeds of up to 85mph, with large waves likely along exposed western coasts.

The A82 between Glencoe and Tyndrum was closed for high-sided vehicles due to the high winds.

Amber "be prepared" weather warnings have been issued for Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands and Strathclyde, while the rest of the country is covered by yellow "be aware" warnings.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said evening bus services for Lewis, Harris and Uist were being cancelled.

Avoid exposed areas

Insp Robbie MacDonald of Northern Constabulary had encouraged the public not to travel unless it was necessary and to have provisions in their homes for possible power cuts.

"If travel is essential, the public should avoid exposed or coastal areas where gusts could cause significant harm to individuals," he said.

"Those travelling on causeways or low lying roads should listen to local radio and keep informed as to whether there are any road closures.

"Taking measures to secure items outside properties, such as garden furniture and scaffolding, and checking in on elderly neighbours to ensure they have all the necessary provisions is also encouraged."

A Scottish Hydro spokeswoman said that there had been isolated incidents around Scotland of homes losing electricity supplies because of high winds.

However, engineers are working on reconnecting those customers and their power should be restored by the end of the day.

On the summit of Cairn Gorm, a wind speed of 135mph was recorded at midnight and 114mph on Wednesday morning, according to the CairnGorm Mountain ski centre.

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