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Public warned of transport disruption.
Ministers have been receiving updates on the preparations being made for Storm Caroline with a Scottish Government Resilience meeting due to take place this afternoon.
A Met Office Amber warning for high winds is in place for tomorrow. Winds in excess of 70 mph are expected with 90 mph gusts possible in the far north. The public is being urged to prepare for transport disruption during the morning peak. Snow showers are predicted to become increasingly frequent over northern Scotland late on Thursday and are expected across many other parts of the country through Friday and into Saturday. These are covered by Met Office Yellow warnings.
The details are available here.
Transport Scotland is liaising with transport operators and the trunk road operating companies to make preparations for the storm but disruption is expected. Those planning to travel by ferry should check with their operators to make sure their service running as planned. The Scotrail Alliance is also making preparations for the days ahead.
Drivers should be aware of the strong possibility of bridge closures and restrictions. Restrictions, especially for high-sided vehicles, are likely across the country. Gritters and patrols will be deployed across the trunk road network with up to 20 cm of snow and blizzard conditions forecast for higher routes on Friday and Saturday.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said:
“We are facing some challenging weather conditions in the next few days as a result of Storm Caroline and we will be working closely with our partners to try to mitigate the worst of these and get information out to the public so that they can plan their journeys. Disruption is very likely but we will make every effort to recover the network as quickly as possible when incidents do occur.
“On Thursday, the strength of the wind during the morning peak period is likely to lead to bridge restrictions and closures and we would urge drivers to check ahead. The Traffic Scotland mobile site gives them up to date information on any incidents on the network. The wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website will let people see when restrictions are likely.
“Moving forward, snow and ice will become more of a feature of the storm and our gritters and patrols will be out across the network. There is plenty of salt available and new vehicles are being trialled to improve our response. Our gritter tracker is back online so that people can see where our gritters have been out in their area.”
Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director of CalMac said:
"With Storm Caroline expected to see strong winds gusting across the north of Scotland tomorrow disruption to ferry services is a high possibility."We would urge passengers who need to travel, to allow extra time for their journey and to keep track of the status of their sailing on the website before setting out on their journey."Passengers also have the option of signing up for our text service to get the very latest service updates via their phone."