Ministers updated on weather preparations
Storm Conor set to arrive overnight
The public are being urged to check before they travel as Storm Conor prepares to sweep across parts of northern Scotland during Boxing Day.
Another meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience team took place this morning (Sunday) and was chaired by Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.
Representatives from the Met Office, Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, SEPA and key responders participated in the call.
SEPA currently have eight flood alerts in place covering Tayside, Caithness and Sutherland, Orkney, Scottish Borders, Shetland, Skye, Easter Ross and Great Glen and Lochaber and the Western Isles. There are nine local flood warnings in Tayside and Caithness and Sutherland.
Power companies have reconnected more than 26,000 customers over the course of Storm Barbara. A small number of customers in Shetland and the Western Isles are without power, this will be fixed as quickly as possible and customers are being offered support.
Now Storm Conor is expected to bring strong winds and rain overnight into Boxing Day with the most severe impact again expected to be felt on the Northern Isles and north Highlands. An Amber ‘be prepared’ warning was issued by the Met Office on Friday, and in most cases operators have been able to contact passengers to warn them in advance of likely disruption.
As above, there are a number of additional Yellow warnings in place for the rest of the country tomorrow, including one for snow for much of northern and parts of the Central belt until lunchtime on Monday.
Over 120 gritters can be deployed to provide precautionary salt treatments to trunk roads. To patrol and provide additional salt treatments, a further 53 gritters are deployed as required. Salt stocks are in plentiful supply.
Ferry services are expected to be affected and driving conditions will be challenging for many tomorrow. However Tuesday is expected to mark an improvement in the weather and a return to more moderate conditions.
Utility suppliers have increased staff resources and put in place back-up resources to deal with any potential disruption to power supplies.
Speaking after chairing this morning’s meeting Mr Yousaf said:
“I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, especially those working for key responders who are away from their families, often working in dreadful weather.
"Storm Barbara was a challenge, although the early warning meant operators were able to contact most customers in advance at the start of the week which allowed travel plans to be revised.
“Our responders in the north have scarcely had a chance to recover from these conditions but now Storm Conor is set to bring the next test during Boxing Day.
"Of course many people will be travelling to meet loved ones and spend time with their families at this time of year and we would remind the public to check before the travel and delay their journey if they have to. Safety must be paramount and should take priority.
“We have well established communications channels at our disposal and a new microsite on the TrafficScotland website which covers all modes of transport. I know that travel companies and operators have also been very proactive in terms of speaking to customers via phone, email, text and social media – this has been a crucial part of this year’s mainly successful contingency planning so far.
“The Scottish Government’s Resilience operation is actively monitoring weather developments and receiving updates from the Met Office, SEPA and the utilities companies, as well as keeping in touch with emergency responders and councils at a local level in the areas likely to be affected by adverse weather.”
The Scottish Government’s annual resilience marketing campaign, Ready Scotland, is a good reminder of the simple actions we can all take to prepare for adverse conditions. Further information is available atwww.readyscotland.org
The full Alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the Alerts, are available athttp://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
Rail, ferries and air users should check with individual service operators’ websites.