The Met Office has issued an upgraded severe weather warning today, as the tail end of Hurricane Katia hits Scotland this evening.
Katia’s path looks set to affect northern England and Scotland, and airlines including EasyJet are advising passengers to check the website for any disruptions. http://easyjet.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3970/~/current-travel-status
Hurricane Katia could be the worst storm to hit the UK since 1966 and authorities are saying the public should be aware of the risk of disruption to transport and the possibility of damage to trees and structures.
Central and southern Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England can expect gusts of up to 130km (80mph) today, caused by the Atlantic storm. Places in north Wales had gusts of 73mph at 5am this morning with worse to come, while heavy rain of up to 72mm in Scotland is expected. Motorists have been warned there may be disruption and that two of Scotland’s main bridges, the Forth and the Tay, could close.
“There is the potential for 60mph to 70mph gusts and 80mph or more could occur over exposed coasts and hills,” the Met Office said.
Last Thursday, John Cangianlosi, of the US National Hurricane Centre, gave the first indications of the arrival of Katia to Scotland. He said: “It’ll likely be a very big, significant weather system. It will evolve into a classic winter-time storm by the time it reaches Scotland.”
ScotRail is bringing in more staff today to cope with any issues. A spokesman said: “We are monitoring the situation over the weekend and have already arranged, as a precaution, to have extra staff in place on Monday.
Ferry crossings may be affected, too. CalMac Ferries said: “We’re keeping a close eye on the forecasts and will respond as appropriate once we know for certain what we’re dealing with.”
Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, advised: ‘If driving in foul weather on Monday, the AA would advise drivers to be prepared for the unexpected and to pay attention to information, be it on radio, the internet or variable message signs.”
A spokesman at Glasgow Airport said they were not anticipating any “significant” disruption and advised passengers to check with their airline and the airport’s website.
At Edinburgh Airport a spokeswoman said that they were watching to see what “unfolds for the weather” and that travellers should also check with their airline.
Emergency services and transport authorities launched Exercise Polar Storm last Wednesday – last winter Scottish authorities were heavily criticised for the winter weather chaos during heavy snow which left drivers stranded on main cross-country routes.