A number of rural schools in the Highlands have shut their doors due to “bad weather” – leaving more than 1,200 pupils at home.
The local authority has announced the temporary closure of 14 facilities as the first winter storm for the year is about to sweep across the region.
Storm Arwen is expected to batter the north and north-east with winds of up to 80mph this weekend causing disruption to travel and “danger to life”.
In light of the Met Office’s amber warning for severe weather, the Highland Council has confirmed a total of 1,219 nursery and primary school pupils have been told to stay at home today.
#StormArwen has been named and is forecast to bring a period of very strong winds and cold weather to the UK from Friday into Saturday
Disruption to travel and infrastructure is likely over the coming days with warnings in force ⚠️
— Met Office (@metoffice) November 25, 2021
Most of the schools are located in the Caithness area – with Farr High School in Bettyhill, Tongue Primary and Tongue Primary Nursery in Lairg, as well as Melvich Primary and Melvich Primary Nursery, among those closed for the day.
Pennyland Primary and Pennyland Primary Nursery in Thurso were also added to the list of closures this morning.
They are joined by Noss Primary and Newton Park Primary along with their nurseries in Wick, which will be partially closed in the afternoon.
Pupils at Farr Primary School and its accompanying nursery in Inverness will also be forced to study at home today due to the weather forecast.
Meanwhile, Millbank Primary School in Buckie remains temporarily shut due to Covid with staff members told to self-isolate and book a PCR test after being identified as close contacts.
It followed a spate of school closures across the Highlands in the last few weeks, where a number of facilities sent thousands of pupils home due to Covid outbreaks.
Disruption as Storm Arwen takes over the north
Storm Arwen has been forecasted to bring “damaging” gusts to the north and north-east this afternoon with residents urged to remain cautious of any danger that may emerge from the severe weather.
The alerts for the stronger and more disruptive winds come into effect at 3pm on Friday and last until 9am on Saturday.
Friday 26th November 2021
Due to forecasted adverse weather conditions all sailings are now cancelled.https://t.co/xs7xfl33mW
— NorthLink Ferries (@NLFerries) November 26, 2021
The Met Office has warned of the possibility of the weather causing injuries and even danger to life with large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.
With the average speed of winds keeping steady between 65 and 75mph throughout the night, there is a chance of damage to trees and buildings, as well as power cuts.
Travel disruption is also on the cards for residents in the region as transport services – including ferries and trains – are likely to be affected by the battering winds.
More on what to expect from Storm Arwen:
- Storm Arwen: Met Office issues ‘danger to life’ warning for high and strong winds
- Storm Arwen: Bear Scotland warns of bridge disruption amidst strong winds, heavy rain and snow
- Storm Arwen: Orkney schools to close early on Friday amidst weather warning
- Storm Arwen: A96 roadworks near Inverurie delayed due to weather warning