Storm Conor blasts in with winds of 90mph and snow
Weather alerts in place as further delays expected for holiday travel
BOXING Day gusts of up to 90mph are forecast to batter the far north of Scotland and Orkney and Shetland as Storm Conor sweeps across the country.
The Met Office has issued amber alerts for strong winds from 8am until 4pm today, warning travellers that it may lead to ferry delays and bridge closures. Disruption to power supplies and large waves hitting coastal areas are also likely, said forecasters, with frequent wintry showers also expected to be a hazard for motorists in the north of Scotland.
It followed another day of high winds and torrential rain that turned Christmas Day into a washout for many communities.
The Met Office said: “A swathe of strong winds on the southern flank of Storm Conor is likely to bring a period of enhanced winds to the far north of Scotland and Northern Isles in particular.
“There is a possibility of gusts in the region of 80-90mph, although there remains a degree of uncer- tainty because of uncertainties over the track of Conor in its final stages as it moves towards Norway.”
Less severe yellow weather warnings for wind are also in place for the Grampian and Strathclyde regions until 6pm today.
The chief forecaster said Arctic air dragged across the region by the tail of Storm Conor would bring heavy wintry showers and some thunder and lightning to parts of Greater Glasgow and the west coast of Scotland, with frequent blustery showers falling as snow on higher ground and as a mixture of rain, sleet and snow on lower levels.
Gusts of wind of 40-50 mph, and much more on high ground, will lead to temporary blizzard condi- tions at times with up to six inches of snow forecast for some areas.
At low levels around an inch of snow may accumulate locally, with icy patches on untreated surfaces.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf chaired a Christmas Day briefing with the Scottish Government’s resilience team to plan for Storm Conor.
More than 120 gritters are available to provide precautionary salt treatments to trunk roads, with a further 53 gritters deployed as required. Salt stocks are high after the mild start to winter.
Mr Yousaf said: “Many people will be travelling to meet loved ones and spend time with their families at this time of year and we would remind the public to check before they travel and delay their journey if they have to. Safety must be paramount and should take priority. “
About 860 homes were left without electricity for much of yesterday afternoon after suffering a power cut. Energy provider SSE said that properties in the Inverurie area of Aberdeenshire were affected by the outage.
Meanwhile, firefighters were praised for protecting homes from flooding on Christmas Day after a water main ruptured at 8.15am in Blackburn, West Lothian.
Emergency teams rushed to Bathgate Road to pump water away and protect homes with sandbags.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service group manager, Tom McGrath, said: “Our crews worked tirelessly in difficult and challenging conditions so that families could continue to enjoy Christmas.”