Scotland is braced for high winds and heavy rain as Storm Ciara batters the country, with warnings of a risk of danger to life.
Authorities warn the storm is likely to cause “significant disruption” and transport is likely to be affected.
The Met Office has issued yellow warnings of strong winds across Scotland on Sunday with gusts of up to 80mph possible in some areas.
It warns that injuries and flying debris may pose a danger to life while there may also be damage to buildings, travel disruption and power cuts.
Amber warning for heavy rain issued for the south of #Scotland - please heed the advice from our partner agencies and stay safe. A yellow warning for strong winds remains in place across the whole of Scotland throughout Sunday. #StormCiara https://t.co/1LnO3pQmhE— Police Scotland (@policescotland) February 8, 2020
An amber warning of heavy rain in the Borders is also in force for 2am to 10am on Sunday.
It warns that homes and businesses are likely to be flooded with a chance that some communities may be cut off by flooded roads, and warns of a danger to life from fast-flowing or deep floodwater.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Met Office is telling us that we are facing a prolonged period of adverse weather, with Storm Ciara bringing strong winds and rain to most of Scotland this weekend.
“We’re also being told to expect snow and high winds throughout Monday and on Tuesday morning, so there is the potential for significant disruption on the trunk road network, as well as other modes of transport.
“It’s important that people check the latest information before they set off, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice.”
Network Rail said winds of up to 90mph are expected on the West Highland Line and the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh routes on Sunday and services will be suspended during the worst of the weather.
The company tweeted: “We expect extreme winds of 80-90mph to affect the West Highland Line & Inverness – Kyle of Lochalsh tomorrow (Sunday). Services will be suspended on those routes during the worst of the weather tomorrow. It’s not safe to run in these conditions.
“Once the storm passes, we’ll inspect both routes with locomotives on Monday at first light for obstructions before reopening.”
Ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne warned there is a “very high possibility of weather-related disruption to services” across all 28 of its routes and advised people to keep track of the status of their sailing online and on social media and to be prepared for delays and cancellations.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 15 flood alerts and 38 flood warnings.
Nigel Goody, Sepa duty flood manager, said: “Storm Ciara has arrived with a dangerous combination of high tides, high storm surge & high inshore waves across coastal areas.
“Avoid crashing waves and follow the advice of emergency services and local councils.”
Inspector Davy Hynd of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit said: “There is a high risk of disruption in the affected area and, if you do travel, you are likely to experience significant delays.
“If you must travel please plan your route, as well as alternative routes, in advance.”