Storm-force 85mph gales and heavy rain batter parts of Scotland

Heavy rain and 85mph winds have battered parts of Scotland.

The Met Office issued an amber weather warning for the Western Isles with less severe yellow weather warnings in place across parts of the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland, Central, Tayside and Fife and Strathclyde.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 14 flood alerts and four flood warnings across the country with Tayside likely to be worst hit.

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse has urged people to take care this weekend.

“With an amber alert in the Western Isles for gale force winds over night, I would urge local people to take extra care and to follow advice from the police and local authorities, particularly the risk of waves over-topping coastal defences," he said.

“The challenging weather we have seen over recent days and weeks has hit some areas hard – and the community response has been heartening. While we do not expect heavy rainfall, with saturated ground or melting snow in some areas and with rivers swollen, further disruption is possible.

“The Scottish Government remains vigilant and continues to work closely with out partners to monitor the situation. I would ask that people take heed of flood advice from Sepa in the build up to the Hogmanay celebrations, as the situation may change at short notice.

"We would advise anyone travelling to plan their journey carefully, using all the available information from Traffic Scotland, local radio and public transport operators.

“In particular, ferry and air users seeking to travel to and from the Western Isles and Northern Isles should check with their individual service operator in advance for the very latest information before making their journey."

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “[There will be] south to southwesterly severe gales, with storm force winds for a time, that will develop through Friday evening and into the early hours of Saturday morning. Seas will also be high with a risk of over-topping especially on west facing coasts.

“The public should be prepared for disruption to travel, whilst winds of this strength could also lead to some structural damage.”

Traffic Scotland warned of potential problems for drivers across the county and Western Isle’s ferry operator Calmac is warning or disruption and cancellations on 22 of its services.

A spokesman for Northern Constabulary said: “The winds are believed to be strong enough that there could be some structural damage associated with them, and they will also be accompanied by high seas which have the potential to cause wave overtopping.

“There are warnings of localised flooding along with surface waters on roads with a strong possibility of disruption to public transport.

“The public in the Western Isles are also advised of the potential for causeways to close for indeterminate periods this evening and to check partner agency websites and listen to radio reports for further updates.”

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