Public urged to prepare for Storm Abigail

Following reports of an amber weather alert (be prepared) for the Highlands, the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland, the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership (HILRP), is seeking to remind the public to be vigilant of severe gales, storm force winds, showers and lightening. This is expected to occur between 21:00 hours on Thursday 12 November 2015 until 12:00 hours on Friday (13 November 2015).

Met Office reports warn of south-westerly severe gales developing later on Thursday, increasing to storm force for a time as they veer westerly overnight into early Friday. Gusts of 70 to 80 mph are likely, and perhaps 90 mph across exposed locations. Winds will begin to ease and veer more westerly across the Western Isles and the mainland on Friday morning and across the Northern Isles on Friday afternoon.

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. The public 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.

There is a possibility of school closures across the affected regions. For schools in Highland, visit Make sure you have your school’s PIN ready if you wish to phone the School Closures Recorded Message Line on 0800 564 2272.

The public are also reminded that Ferry services are likely to be affected by the severe weather conditions with disruptions to planned services. There is also a possibility of disruption on rail routes. For information on disruptions, check the transport service provider’s website and social media accounts.

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.

Partner agencies across the Highlands and Islands are meeting regularly to ensure appropriate response arrangements have been considered and are in place.

SEPA will continue to monitor the situation and would encourage the public to check the SEPA website for active flood warnings. Members of the public should call SEPA's Floodline on 0345 988 1188, for the most up to date information on their area.

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 -
  • SEPA Floodline -
  • Scottish and Southern Electric Power Distribution -
  • Transport Scotland -
  • Scotrail -
  • Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries -
  • Northlink Ferries -
  • Highland Council -
  • Highland Council School Closures -
  • Ready Winter -
11 Nov 2015
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