Residents in the north and north-east are being braced to expect disruption this weekend as forecaster issue yellow warnings across the country ahead of Storm Ciara.
Met Office forecasters are predicting wind speeds could reach up to 50 to 60mph inland on Saturday and Sunday, with coastal areas experiencing gusts of up to 80mph.
Conditions are expected to cause disruption to road, rail and ferry services with warnings of possible power cuts, flooding and possible damage to buildings.
Ferry services remain on red alert across the north as storm Ciara poses adverse conditions to coastal areas due to strong gusts and high seas.
Calmac has issued a warning to commuters to expect disruption or cancellations to a number of crossings as a result of the adverse weather.
CalMac’s Director of Operations, Robert Morrison said: “Weather for the weekend is looking extremely problematic as far as delivering a scheduled timetable. There is a very high possibility of weather related disruption to services across all 28 of our routes so people should be aware of this before setting off on their journey. We will of course be looking keep sailings running when conditions allow.”
Northlink Ferries have also highlighted the risk of delays to services this weekend and right through until next week.
The operator has rescheduled their Mv Hrossey sailing tomorrow with their Lerwick 5.30pm crossing now due to depart two and a half hours earlier at 3pm, with arrival in the uncertain due to weather related delays.
With rail services in jeopardy of being cancelled or delayed, transport provider Scotrail have also pledge to “work hard” in keeping rail passengers moving “safely and reliably” during the storm.
Taking to social media, a spokesman said: “Preparations are underway across Scotland’s Railway for Storm Ciara. Expected to arrive through Saturday and into Sunday this storm is set to bring wind gusts of up to 80 mph with some heavy rainfall. Our teams will be working hard to keep you moving safely and reliably.”
Regional airline Loganair is also offering customers the opportunity to adjust their travel plans to avoid being caught up in the chaos.
Passengers scheduled to travel between Sunday and February 16 are being given the chance to alter their scheduled departures free of charge to avoid the direct impact caused by the harsh conditions.
A spokesman said: “In view of the high winds forecast and potential for travel disruption, we are offering customers travelling on all Loganair flights the opportunity to adjust travel plans without charge.”
Passengers choosing to travel during the conditions are also being assured the airline staff will take every safe measure possible to keep them on schedule.
Disruption to Highland services is expected to extend into next week as the Met Office issues yellow weather warnings for wind and snow.
The three-day forecast
With Storm Ciara set to arrive on Saturday, Met Office Meteorologist Martin Bowles provides a rundown of what we can expect to see over the next three days.
The Highlands and islands and the north-east are expecting one more largely dry day with plenty of sunshine, however, increasingly during today, it will get more and more breezy. By the end of the day, there will be some rain in the far west. It will stay quite sunny in the far north east but it will become increasingly windy; a sign of things to come.
As we move into tomorrow it will be increasingly wet and windy. We are expecting quite strong winds to build during the day and a batch of fairly heavy showers to come through during Saturday morning. The showers probably won’t reach the north-east but we do expect the strong winds to. In fact the winds will strengthen towards the end of the day and later on Saturday we are expecting some very strong winds, gale force winds, for which a yellow warning has been issued.
We will see very heavy showers on Saturday evening and also extremely strong winds and those winds will continue through the night as the deep low pressure areas associated with Storm Ciara moves across the north of Scotland.
Right through Sunday we can expect another spell of very heavy rain and strong winds. The most potent of the winds will be over the hills and on the coast. Inland we can expect 50/60mph winds and along the coast expecting perhaps 70/80mph.