Highlands & Islands

Amber Storm Barbara warning for Scotland

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Media captionStorm Barbara

The Met Office has issued an amber "be prepared" weather warning for large parts of Scotland for Friday and Christmas Eve.

Yellow "be aware" warnings are also in place for Scotland for Wednesday to Saturday.

The Met Office said a storm, named Storm Barbara, could see winds gusting to 90mph over western and northern parts of Scotland.

Forecasters have warned of possible disruption to power supplies.

The amber warning is in place from 12:00 Friday to 06:00 Saturday.

The Met Office said: "A spell of very strong south to southwesterly winds is expected to develop on Friday.

"Gusts of 80mph are likely quite widely, with westerly winds gusting to 90mph likely across parts of western and northern Scotland later on Friday and overnight into Saturday.

"Winds will then ease on Saturday morning."

'Specialist equipment'

The Met Office added: "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."

Shetland is likely to be the last place to see winds easing on Saturday, the Met Office said.

The yellow warnings warns of winds gusting to up to 55mph on Wednesday to Thursday and to 70mph on Friday and Saturday.

Snowfalls with accumulations of five to 10cm have also been forecast upland areas of western and central Highlands.

For the Highlands and Islands, Storm Barbara's arrival follows a period of calm weather.

Image caption Stormy weather has already been affecting Lewis on the Western Isles

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government was working with agencies to do everything possible to help get people safely to where they want to be.

He said: "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."

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has said 21 of its 26 routes have already been disrupted by the weather. Several services have been cancelled.

Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - shut the Braighe, the causeway to Point on Lewis, for several hours because of strong winds and high tides.

Image caption The first signs in a change of weather were being noticed in Inverness and the wider Highlands and Islands

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