Storm Barra forces schools to shut as gusts reach 68mph

·4 min read

Parts of Scotland are on alert as high winds and snow start to batter the country as Storm Barra sweeps across the UK.

The storm has already brought snow, with people in South Lanarkshire seen clearing their driveways, and high winds have caused disruption on roads as they bring down trees.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow and wind, with forecasters warning of gusts of up to 80mph on the west coast and of up to 65mph around the east coast.

Man clears path of snow
A man clears snow away in Leadhills, South Lanarkshire as Storm Barra hits the UK (Jane Barlow/PA)

It warned of two to five centimetres of snow in some areas, and of 10-20cm in the southern uplands and the Highlands.

The storm threatens to bring further disruption to areas of the country which were left with no power for days after Storm Arwen.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said it has put staff on alert in the areas it believes could be worst affected to try minimise any disruption to the power grid.

Tree blocks the A702 after it is blown over in Storm Barra
A fallen tree blocks the A702 near Coulter in South Lanarkshire as Storm Barra hits the UK (Jane Barlow/PA)

As the storm moves across the country, the Met Office has recorded a gust of 68mph in Machrihanish, near Campbeltown in Argyll.

Schools in Dumfries and Galloway were forced to close because of the weather. Stranraer Academy was shut after the wind caused structural damage to its roof, the council said, and Drummore School closed because of trees being blown down.

Other schools have also been shut, including Sheuchan School and Raphad School, because of Storm Barra.

High winds have also brought disruption to commuters. Earlier on Tuesday a tree fell on the A702 near Coulter in South Lanarkshire, blocking the road.

Rod Dennis, RAC Breakdown spokesman, urged people to drive to the road conditions.

“As Storm Barra batters Britain, drivers need to really have their wits about them to stay safe. We urge drivers to stick to major routes wherever possible, slow down to the right speed for the conditions and take particular care when passing high-sided vehicles to avoid being buffeted off course,” he said.

Snow had slowed down traffic M74 and M8, and Network Rail Scotland said a fallen tree had blocked tracks on the West Coast Mainline, north of Lockerbie, and damaged overhead lines.

And Scot Rail has also cancelled services and warned passengers of delays after the operator was forced to slow down trains because of the weather.

It cancelled Tuesday’s services between Stranraer and Girvan, and from 3pm would only be running a limited service between Dundee and Aberdeen.

It also said trains would stop from 4pm on services between Inverurie and Montrose, and from 5pm trains between Inverness and Elgin will be cancelled.

London North Eastern Railway also announced a series of delays and alterations because of the weather.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “The conditions brought in by Storm Barra continue to have the potential to impact the trunk road network, as well other modes of transport.

“As always, we urge people to check the latest information before they set off, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice.”

Storm Barra, the second winter storm of the season, will continue to batter the UK tonight, with yellow warnings in Scotland set to end at midnight.

Becky Mitchell, senior operational meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “The strong winds will continue across the UK this evening, bringing widely 40-50mph, and up to 65mph at the coast. This could give tricky travelling conditions, some power outages and large waves at the coast.

“Rain and snow will clear Scotland after midnight, and the winds will gradually ease for most of the country. However, it will stay windy in parts of southwest England and Wales, where a yellow wind warning remains in force through Wednesday.”

As well as the warnings from the Met Office, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has also issued two flood warnings and 10 flood alerts for the country.

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