Katia remnants batter Scotland

Tuesday 13th Sep 2011 by theWeather Club

Parts of Scotland have been battered by storm-force winds as the remnants of the Hurricane Katia storm system reached the UK. Several parts of the UK's west coast have also been hit by storm force winds, but the worst of the weather was reserved for those north of the border.

With gusts of up to 85mph being recorded, the Met Office issued an amber alert, which warns of possible damage to trees and structures. The highest wind speed was recorded at Glen Ogle in the southern Highlands. Glasgow Airport saw gusts of 72mph, while in Edinburgh winds reached up to 76mph. Heavy rain was an additional hazard for western Scotland, with as much as 100mm expected in places.

Fallen trees have been causing some disruption on the roads and railways and hundreds of homes are without power. In Dumfries and Galloway, a fallen tree at Colvend brought power lines down and left the area without power for several hours. Meanwhile in the Ayrshire seaside towns of Saltcoats and Ardrossan, residents gathered to photograph vast waves crashing over sea walls, as winds approached speeds of 60mph. Meteorologist Graham Smith, who recorded the conditions at Saltcoats said: "The sea has been quite spectacular, with the waves crashing over the [sea]wall." The waves also battered the Ayrshire coastal rail line, where strong winds and spray from high tides caused overhead line problems at Saltcoats.

The Tay Bridge imposed a 30mph speed limit, while the Forth Road Bridge had a 40mph limit and was only open to cars. The Nevis Range, near Fort William, which is open to mountain bikers outside the winter season, suspended the operation of its gondola and chairlifts because of high winds.

The high winds also closed tourist attractions in the capital, including Edinburgh Zoo, Edinburgh Castle and the Midlothian Snowsports Centre at Hillend. The ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne cancelled some sailings. Stena ferries from Stranraer to Belfast were suspended and P&O said its Fastcraft service from Cairnryan would not run at all on Monday and Tuesday.

The Met office said it was an unusually early storm for Scotland, which meant there was a greater risk of uprooted trees since they still had leaves on them. This risk has been heightened by a period of wet weather, which has left the soil very wet. A Met Office spokesman said: "The public should be prepared for the risk of disruption to transport and of the possibility of damage to trees and structures."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it was most concerned about the impact on coastal areas and has recommended that people stay away from exposed coastal routes. It warned of a high likelihood of low impact coastal flooding and traffic spray during the next 48 hours.