Scots have been warned to avoid unnecessary travel on Sunday as Storm Isha sweeps in, with gusts of up to 60mph expected and an amber warning issued.
The Met Office warning for strong winds and rain covers an area from south of Stirling into northern England from 6pm on Sunday until 9am on Monday.
A yellow warning for wind is in place for the whole of Scotland for 24 hours from midday on Sunday, and yellow warnings for rain have been issued for central Scotland up to Inverness and for southern Scotland for Sunday into Monday.
Snow and ice is anticipated across central and northern Scotland with a warning already in place, and a new yellow warning for rain covering the area from the north of Glasgow towards Fort William has been issued for Saturday between 5pm and midnight.
Gusts of up to 50-60mph, or more, are expected on Sunday which could impact transport services and present challenging conditions for both motorists and pedestrians, authorities warn.
Flights and ferries are predicted to be impacted, and debris could be swept on to roads.
The high winds could lead to restrictions and closures on roads and bridges, and increased surface spray will make visibility difficult and could result in localised flooding.
Police have warned anyone travelling to take care.
Chief Superintendent Hilary Sloan, Police Scotland’s head of road policing, said: “The amber warning for high winds means that there is a strong likelihood of disruption on the road network and motorists are advised to plan ahead and avoid unnecessary travel where possible.
“If you do require to make a journey, then consider delaying until the weather conditions improve. However, if this is not possible then please ensure both you and your vehicle are suitably equipped to deal with the conditions you could face.
“Make sure your vehicle has sufficient fuel and is completely roadworthy, with tyre pressure and tread meeting legal requirements.
“Ensure your mobile phone is fully charged in the event you need to call for assistance and if it is likely you may be within your vehicle for long periods of time, take additional clothing and water with you.
“Please do not ignore any road signage advising of changes to speed or closures to routes.”
Storm Isha is the ninth named storm to hit the UK since the season began in September.
Transport Scotland said the Scottish Government Resilience Room will be activated to ensure ministers are kept up to date on developments and the Multi Agency Response Team will be mobilised.
Scottish transport minister Fiona Hyslop said: “Storm Isha will bring strong winds and rain on Sunday that will present challenging conditions for people, communities and the transport network.
The weather is expected to change this weekend, with #StormIsha arriving through Sunday ⚠️
Here are all the details you need 👇 pic.twitter.com/W2wht05Q1l
— Met Office (@metoffice) January 19, 2024
“Police Scotland’s advice is to expect a high risk of disruption across the amber warning areas – but there will be impacts across the whole of Scotland that we will need to look out for.
“Planning ahead will be vital and you’ll need to allow extra time for your journey if you do need to travel.
“The strong winds may cause particular difficulties for HGVs and we would urge drivers to take note of the conditions.
“Road maintenance teams have been out on the trunk road network to cut down over-hanging branches in preparation for winter weather, but debris on the roads and tree-fall is a strong possibility.
“The forecasted rain will make visibility difficult when driving and could result in localised flooding.
“Disruption on ferry services is very likely, rail services will also be impacted, flights could also be impacted. The decision to cancel services is never taken lightly, but safety of passengers has to be the priority.”
Met Office chief meteorologist Dan Suri said: “Storm Isha will bring strong winds to the whole of the UK through Sunday and into Monday.
“The areas of particular concern are reflected by a large amber severe weather warning which covers Northern Ireland, central and southern Scotland, Wales, much of northern England as well as southwestern parts of England.”