A developing area of low-pressure, which will bring gales to parts of northern and western Scotland on Thursday morning, has been named as Storm Caroline.
A Met Office Amber National Severe Weather Warning for wind has been issued for the far north of Scotland with gusts quite widely expected of around 70-80mph and 90mph in more exposed areas. Meanwhile a Yellow warning has also been issued for wind covering parts of central and southern Scotland and the extreme north of Northern Ireland with wind gusts of 60-70mph expected quite widely across the warning area and up to 80mph in the more exposed north-facing coastal locations.
The warnings area which extends from 8am on Thursday until midnight includes most of the Western Isles, the Northern Isles and the majority of mainland Scotland from Oban to Aberdeen.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Steve Ramsdale said: “The strongest winds will reach the northwest of Scotland early on Thursday, extending to northeast Scotland and the Northern Isles in the afternoon. During Thursday winds will start to ease in the west with the strongest of the winds becoming confined to the Northern Isles in the evening.”
The strong winds may affect Scotland’s road, rail, air and ferry services, and longer journey times and cancellation of services are possible. Within the amber warning area flying debris could be an issue and some damage to buildings is possible, such as tiles blowing off roofs. As with any period of strong winds, there may be some short-term loss of power and effects on other services. In addition, it is likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities will be affected by spray and/or large waves.
As Storm Caroline moves away from the UK later on Thursday and through Friday it will allow winds from the northwest to spread across the UK bringing much colder air. Steve Ramsdale added: “With the return of air from a north westerly direction – with its origins in the Arctic – snow showers will become increasingly frequent and heavy across northern Scotland during Thursday evening.”
The Met Office has also issued a Yellow National Severe Weather Warning for snow and ice for Friday. The warning covers much of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and parts of northern and western England. 2-5 cm of snow is likely fairly widely, with 10-20 cm in places mainly northern Scotland, Northern Ireland, north Wales and perhaps the northwest Midlands. Icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight and during the morning. Strong northwest winds may cause blizzard conditions at times across northern Scotland. The heaviest and most frequent of the snow showers will progressively become confined to northeast Scotland during Saturday.
Scotland's Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “With stormy weather expected across the north of Scotland we would urge people to check with their operators before they travel, especially if they are planning a ferry journey. There may also be bridge restrictions, particularly for high-sided vehicles, and we would urge road users to check the latest information on wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website to see where this is likely.
“As the weather turns more wintry our trunk road operating companies will be out patrolling and gritting as required. Our gritter tracker is back online so that people can see where our gritters have been out in their areas and our new Traffic Scotland mobile site gives them up to date information on any incidents on the network.”
The Met Office works with Met Éireann in a storm naming collaboration to name storms which can affect either the UK or Ireland. Storm Caroline will be the third named storm of the season, following Storm Brian which affected southern and western parts of Britain and Ireland on 21 October 2017. Further information on recent storms can be found on the Met Office Storm Centre page.
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