Highlands & Islands

Restrictions put on Scotland's bridges due to high winds

Stormy conditions at Ardrossan in Ayrshire Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stormy conditions at Ardrossan in Ayrshire as high winds battered much of Scotland in the lead up to Christmas

Restrictions are put on Scotland's bridges as high winds cause disruption in the north of the country.

The Forth Road Bridge is open to cars only; there is a 30mph speed restriction on the Tay Road Bridge and the Skye and Dornoch bridges are closed to high-sided vehicles.

The winds are picking up ahead of Storm Conor, due to hit Scotland later.

Ahead of the Christmas weekend, Storm Barbara caused travel problems and power cuts.

Conor is expected to bring gusts of up to 90mph in northern areas on Boxing Day.

An amber "be prepared" warning has been issued for 26 December for the Highlands, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, with high winds and heavy rain expected.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf chaired a conference call of the Scottish government's resilience team on Christmas Day morning.

Following that update he said the public should check weather and travel restrictions ahead of their Boxing Day journeys.

He added: "The Scottish government's resilience operation is actively monitoring weather developments and receiving updates from the Met Office, SEPA and the utilities companies, as well as keeping in touch with emergency responders and councils at a local level in the areas likely to be affected by adverse weather."

Image caption Gale-force winds are expected in parts of Scotland on Boxing Day

Storm Barbara was the first big weather front to hit this Christmas.

At its height there were gusts of 83mph recorded at Sella Ness, Shetland, 79mph at Islay, Argyll and 76mph at Fair Isle, Shetland.

The strongest winds across exposed mountain sites was 117mph over Cairngorm in the Highlands.

Power had to be restored to more than 26,000 homes as the north west of Scotland and the Western Isles bore the brunt of high winds and lightning strikes.

Energy company SSE said the electricity distribution network in the north of Scotland had "stood up well to challenging conditions" during Storm Barbara.

On Saturday ferry services were disrupted and restrictions put in place on many bridges.

However, train services were largely unaffected, despite earlier warnings of high winds and wintry showers for Scotland's central belt and northwards.

Flood alerts were in place in parts of Tayside, Caithness and Sutherland, Orkney, Borders, Shetland, Skye and Lochaber and the Western Isles as well as flood warnings in Tayside.

People can call 105, a free new national phone line, if the weather damages their local power network and affects electricity supply.

The number is available to people in England, Scotland and Wales, regardless of their electricity supplier.

Check out the latest travel news for Scotland

Image copyright PA

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