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24/12/16 13:47

Preparations for Storm Conor

Transport Minister chairs further resilience meeting.

The Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf has chaired a further meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee in preparation for the impacts of Storm Conor on Boxing Day.

Storm Barbara has affected much of the country over the past few days, with the north of Scotland, as well as the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, feeling the worst of the conditions.

There has been some disruption to power supplies and energy companies are warning this could continue due to the wind speed and lightning forecast. Supplies are being restored quickly in affected areas and extra staff, equipment and welfare facilities are in place to support customers.

The Met Office has since issued a further amber warning for Boxing Day for the Highlands, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, with high winds and heavy rain expected.

Full details are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/

There are currently seven flood alerts covering Tayside, Caithness and Sutherland, Orkney, Borders, Shetland, Skye and Lochaber and the Western Isles as well as five flood warnings in Tayside.

Winds of up to 90mph are expected in some areas and the conditions will inevitably have an impact on travel in affected areas.

Cancellations are expected to be in place for ferry services and flights to the islands are being monitored closely.  Travellers are being urged to contact travel operators to find out if their journeys will be disrupted.

Parts of the trunk road network will likely be impacted, with wind restrictions and closures possible on bridges while snow and ice may impact higher routes. Transport Scotland’s trunk road operating companies also have a full winter service programme and specialist teams ready to deal with any flooding or debris on the network.

The Traffic Scotland website has links to all of the latest information and travellers are once again being urged to check the conditions before they set off.

Mr Yousaf said:

“As we see the tail end of Storm Barbara, we are now looking towards Boxing Day and the potential impacts of Storm Conor.

“There has been some disruption to power in areas worst affected by the storm but energy companies have been working hard to restore supplies quickly and have been preparing with extra staff, equipment and welfare facilities in place.

“The Scottish Government’s resilience team has been meeting throughout the past week to monitor the impact of the severe weather and will remain operational through Christmas Day, into Boxing Day, to make sure that the most reliable and relevant information is being communicated to people as early as possible.

“The worst of Storm Conor is once again expected to affect the north of Scotland, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, bringing heavy rain and winds of up to 90mph.

“I can assure the travelling public that our transport operators and trunk road operating companies are working hard to keep services and roads running. However, safety is always our top priority, so we are seeing likely to see disruption to ferries and possibly flights to the islands. It is important to remember that operators do not cancel services lightly.

“Our trunk road teams also stand ready to deal with any potential flooding and debris, whilst gritters have been deployed across the network to deal with snowy and icy conditions.  On Boxing Day rail services are limited to the Strathclyde area where a reduced service is scheduled to operate.

“We will continue to monitor the progress and potential impact of Storm Conor over the next 24 hours, but I would urge everyone to check the latest sources of information before they travel and keep in mind that the situation can change quickly. 

“I wish everyone a safe journey home for Christmas.”
 
Background info:

- The Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland campaign provides the public with a range of advice and information on preparing for winter weather. Further information is available at www.readyscotland.org 

- For real time journey information visit www.trafficscotland.org, follow @trafficscotland on Twitter or call 0800 028 14 14. 

- The full Alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the Alerts, are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/

- For more advice and guidance: www.sepa.org.uk/flooding or via Floodline 0345 988 1188.