Storm Gertrude causes widespread travel disruption

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As anyone who has battled their way into work this morning will already be aware, Storm Gertrude has caused widespread travel disruption across Scotland as heavy rain and winds of up to 132mph hit parts of the country.

The Forth Road, Kessock and Tay bridges are closed to all traffic, while rail services across the country have been disrupted.

The Met Office has issued an amber ‘’be prepared’’ warning for high winds across much of Scotland.

Yellow ‘’be aware’’ warnings for rain, snow and ice are also in place.

Gusts of 132mph were recorded at the peak of Cairngorm and 91mph on South Uist this morning.

Forecasters said: “West to south-westerly gales are expected to develop widely across Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England early on Friday.

‘’Be prepared for the likelihood of difficult driving conditions and disruption to travel, such as cancellation to ferry services and bridge closures.”

Transport in Scotland is also set to face serious disruption.

The Forth Road Bridge and the Clyde Tunnel are closed to all traffic due to very high winds.

ScotRail will operate a limited service with routes in the Highlands and west coast particularly affected.

No trains are expected to run until at least the afternoon between Inverness and Kyle, Thurso and Wick; Perth and Inverness; Glasgow and Fort William, Oban and Mallaig; Dumbarton and Helensburgh; Kilmarnock and Stranraer; and Kilwinning and Ardrossan and Largs.

Services between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverly are severely disrupted and liable to cancellation at short notice.

The routes are likely to bear the brunt of 90mph winds with high tides also forecast.

Operators said hundreds of engineers will be deployed across the network to inspect lines, repair damage and reopen routes as quickly as possible.

Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “We will be withdrawing some services until the worst of the storm has passed.

“The safety of our passengers and workforce is our top priority and we cannot run services on these lines until our engineers have thoroughly inspected the network for any damage.”

Ferry passengers on Scotland’s CalMac services have been told to expect disruption.

Engineers are also on standby around the country to deal with power outages caused by the extreme weather.

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) said: “We have 400 front line and support staff standing by and we have moved engineers to the areas we expect to be hit by the storm. Mobile generators and other resources are also being moved.

“Members of the public should not approach fallen or damaged power lines, which may still be live.’’

Around 600 people were evacuated from their homes in the Scottish Borders on Wednesday over renewed flooding fears and firefighters had to rescue a bus driver caught in water on the B6405 route near Hawick.