Strong winds have been causing travel disruption to parts of the country as Storm Ciara approaches.
Weather warnings have been issued for this weekend as the storm – set to be the most intense in Britain since 2013 – is expected to bring 80mph winds and heavy rain, with impacts felt “across the whole of the UK” on Sunday.
In Scotland, several bridges were closed to lorries and other high sided vehicles on Saturday with the Erskine, Dornoch, Skye and Kessock Bridges among those affected while a 40mph limit was put in place on the Queensferry Crossing.
Ferry passengers also faced disruption with many Caledonian MacBrayne services cancelled due to the weather conditions.
Gusts of 63mph were recorded in South Uist, Tiree and Stornoway on Saturday afternoon.
Forecasters also say there could be damage to buildings and a “good chance” of power cuts.
They warned that Ciara – the third named storm of the season – will “barge her way through” the country.
People planning to travel this weekend are being warned of widespread disruption to travel routes, and a number of sporting events have been cancelled this weekend.
Popular visitor attractions such as the Royal Parks will be closed on Sunday for safety reasons, and the RNLI are urging people to stay safe near the coasts.
The Met Office has issued multiple weather warnings for this weekend and into early next week.
The weather service has also recently extended its amber wind warning to include further swathes of the UK.
Less severe yellow warnings have been issued for wind and rain in the whole of the country.
Several rail firms announced they will operate reduced timetables, with strong winds having the potential to damage overhead electric wires and tracks due to debris or trees falling onto the railway.
Network Rail and train operators in England issued an alert to passengers, stating: “Only travel by train this Sunday if absolutely necessary.”
Disruption could continue into Monday morning as repair work may be hampered by the conditions and passengers are urged to check for updates before travelling.
And the weather isn’t just causing travel chaos, but also having an impact on various events across the country.
The London Winter Run 10k event, which was due to be attended by 25,000 runners, was cancelled after organisers said they were “not able to guarantee the safety of our runners, crew and volunteers”
Galway 2020 has also said in a Tweet that it is “extremely disappointed” to announce the cancellation of the finale of its Opening Ceremony on Saturday evening because of the warnings.
Ciara could also threaten to dampen voting turnout in the unpredictable Irish election as the country is having its first Saturday General Election for more than a century.
Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “Storm Ciara will bring damaging winds and heavy rain across the UK this weekend and we have issued a range of severe weather warnings giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm.
“Winds will increase through Saturday across Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and Wales, before turning very windy across the rest of UK through the early hours of Sunday morning.”
Drivers are being warned to take extra precaution on the roads due to the potential of difficult conditions caused by heavy rain, particularly on coastal or exposed routes.
Guy Addington, regional water safety lead at the RNLI, said: “This rough weather could making visiting our coasts around the UK and Ireland treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.
“If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them.
“Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.”
Sky News weather producer Chris England said: “There is already an amber wind warning for southeast England on Sunday, and yellow warnings elsewhere for wind and rain, which may get upgraded to amber later.
“It is quite likely Ciara will be the most intense storm since 2013, and will almost certainly cause some travel disruption and damage to trees and properties.
“Some coastal flooding is possible too, as the strong winds combine with a spring tide.”
Here’s the latest on #StormCiara with meteorologist, Aidan McGivern 📺👇🏾
— Met Office (@metoffice) February 7, 2020