Storm Caroline hits Scotland, disrupts travels, closes schools

Scrabster Harbour in Caithness where winds have been gusting to 91mph

Rail and ferry travel has been disrupted and dozens of schools have been shut in Scotland due to Storm Caroline’s strong winds.

The Met Office has amber “be prepared” and yellow “be aware” warnings in place for Thursday’s storm for Scotland.
Yellow warnings have been issued for snow, ice and wind on Friday and Saturday for large parts of the UK.

Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf, said the country faced “challenging conditions”.
Warnings were issued earlier this week of winds reaching 90mph over parts of Scotland during the storm.

Mountaineering Scotland has reported gusts reaching 116mph on the summit of Cairn Gorm mountain in the Cairngorms. Winds gusting to 91mph have also been recorded at Dounreay in Caithness.
The Met Office has updated its yellow warning for snow and ice on Thursday to include southern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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All schools on Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in the Western Isles have been closed to pupils as a precaution.
Electricity company SSE Networks said it had restored power to more than 3,900 properties, mainly in the Western Isles and north Highlands. About 780 households across Scotland are without power, the company added.

In the Highland Council area, more than 50 schools, which include nurseries, primary and secondary schools, have been closed because of the weather.
All schools in Orkney were closed from 11:30. In Shetland all schools were closed from lunchtime and will remain shut on Friday.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has 10 flood alerts and 11 flood warnings in place for areas including Ayrshire, Lochaber, Caithness and Sutherland.

Moray Council has warned that high winds and spring tides would lead to large waves at low-lying areas of coastline.
The council said Garmouth and Kingston were expected to be cut off for a short period on Thursday afternoon. It has also warned of blizzard conditions that are expected to follow in the wake of the storm.

ScotRail Alliance said that because of the Met Office forecast for winds gusting to up to 90mph in some areas, it had suspended the following services:

* Aberdeen to Inverness

* Inverness to Wick

* Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh

* Glasgow Queen Street to Oban/Fort William/Mallaig

Speed restrictions will also be in place for services between Perth and Aberdeen and Perth and Inverness as winds of up to 60 mph are expected in areas those routes pass through.
ScotRail Alliance said this would mean trains would be slower and services would be disrupted.

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