Storm Gertrude causes rare ‘red’ weather warning to be issued

Friday 29th Jan 2016 by the Weather Club

Image: Storm Gertrude brings gusts of 70mph to Meanish, Isle of Skye in Scotland
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Andy Stables)

The Met Office has issued a rare red ‘danger to life’ warning for Shetland, with wind speeds of 100mph forecast. In the exposed, rural mountains of Cairngorm, 144mph wind gust was reported.

As of this morning, 7,000 properties were without power in Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, the Western Isles, Skye and Oban, with the adverse weather hindering work to reconnect homes. All schools on the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are closed, plus numerous schools in the Highlands.

Travel conditions are also severely disrupted. Falling trees and debris are affecting road and rail travel, with several overturned lorry incidents already reported this morning. All ferry travel across Scottish west coast waters has been cancelled, or facing delays. The windy weather is also affecting flights, out of Dublin, Belfast, and Scottish airports.  

As well as the wind, heavy rain is threatening to cause problems. 40-60mm of rain is forecast to fall over western and northern Scotland on Friday. SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, has issued 12 flood alerts, and 50 flood warnings.

There are also amber ‘be prepared’ warnings for snow across Scotland for Friday night, into Saturday morning, with 5-10cm of snow likely over parts of central and northeastern Scotland. The snow, combined with strong to gale force winds, will bring blizzard conditions and drifting snow, particularly over higher ground. Low temperatures in the region will allow icy patches to develop on roads on Friday night, with ice accretion on overhead cables potentially bringing further disruption to power supplies.

A rapidly deepening area of low pressure is bringing the windy weather, with a minimum low of 945mb forecast. Through the course of Thursday night and Friday morning, the low tracked across the north Atlantic, passing to the northwest and north of Scotland, close to the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Over the course of the weekend, the system will retreat away from the UK, and move into the Norwegian sea.