Multi-agency partners issue severe weather warning
Following reports of an amber weather alert (be prepared) for the Highlands, the Western Isles and Orkney along with a yellow weather alert (be aware) for Shetland, the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership (HILRP), is seeking to remind the public to be vigilant of severe gales and storm force winds, with gusts in excess of 100mph which are expected to occur from 22:00 hours on Thursday 08 January 2015 until 10:00 hours on Friday (09 January 2015).
The winds are predicted to be strong enough to cause interference to the transport network along with wave and spray overtopping in exposed coastal areas throughout North West Scotland, the Western Isles and into Orkney and along the west coast.
Those in the Islands are also advised of the potential for causeways to close for unknown periods this evening and tomorrow and are urged to regularly check partner agency websites and listen to radio reports for further updates.
There is the likelihood for closures to bridges due to high wind speeds and road closures due to possible fallen trees and debris.
When and where appropriate, the public should avoid travel near exposed or coastal areas where gusts could cause significant harm to individuals. There are higher risks associated with the times of high tide, which vary across the region. Those travelling on causeways or low lying coastal roads should listen to local radio to keep informed as to whether there are any road closures.
In the Western Isles and Orkney, schools will be closed tomorrow (Friday 9 January 2014), and there is the possibility of other schools across the Highlands and Islands to also be closed. For further information the public are advised to contact the appropriate Local Authority. Details of their websites can be seen at the end of this release.
The public are also reminded that Ferry services are likely to be affected by the severe weather conditions with disruptions to planned services. Trains are also expecting disruptions with a limited number of services to be withdrawn as a safety precaution.
As there is a strong possibility for power cuts during the severe weather, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution has mobilised hundreds of additional staff on the ground and in customer call centres. It is also transferring some resources from its sister company, Southern Electric Power Distribution, in anticipation of the severe weather.
People are advised to prepare for possible power cuts by keeping electronic devices fully charged, keeping a torch nearby and a battery-powered radio for news and weather updates. Partner agencies would also encourage members of the local community to check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours to ensure they have all the necessary provisions required. Further useful information can be found on the ‘Ready Scotland’ website.
SEPA are currently in the process of preparing flood alerts and warnings for areas where there is a potential for impacts. Contact with partner agencies will remain in place through the Flood Forecast Service which will help to ensure detailed flood forecasts are available to responders.
As always, SEPA would encourage the public to be mindful of the weather forecast and remain vigilant to the risk of flooding in their area by checking the active flood updates on their website at www.sepa.org.uk/flooding or by signing up to Floodline on 0345 988 1188.
Members of the public and businesses are also asked to take the appropriate measures to secure items outside properties such as garden furniture and scaffolding.
Partner agencies across the Highlands and Islands are meeting regularly to ensure appropriate response arrangements have been considered and are in place.
For updates on weather alerts, travel and flood warnings the public are advised to listen to local radio and to visit the following websites for the most up to date information:
Met Office weather warnings - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
SEPA Floodline - http://floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodupdates/
Scottish and Southern Electric Power Distribution - http://www.ssepd.co.uk/Powertrack/
Transport Scotland - http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/
Scotrail - http://www.scotrail.co.uk/
Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries - http://status.calmac.info/service-status.aspx
Northlink Ferries - http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/opsnews/
For information on schools and local amenities, please see the appropriate Local Authority websites:
Highland Council -
Orkney Islands Council
Shetland Islands Council
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Ready Winter - http://www.readyscotland.org/are-you-ready/winter-weather/ready-in-the-home/power-cuts-and-loss-of-other-utilities/