Storm Caroline is bringing the threat of injury and even loss of life to parts of the UK, Met office forecasters have said. It is feared that winds of up to 90mph in northern Scotland will also send debris flying, damage buildings and cause power cuts.
Severe gales were beginning to strengthen in the area on Thursday morning and forecasters put in place an amber “be prepared” warning – the second most severe – for areas north of a line from Aberdeen, in the east, to the Isle of Skye, in the west.
Areas south of that line as far as the Borders, as well as the most northerly parts of Northern Ireland, were given the less severe yellow warning of high winds for most of Thursday.
“Storm Caroline is well on its way across northern parts of the UK,” said John West, a Met Office meteorologist. “There will be devastating winds in some parts. More broadly across Scotland, there will be 60-70mph gusts. But, in exposed areas, we could see 90mph.”
Train services in the north and west of Scotland have been cancelled, while Traffic Scotland warned of potential disruptions on the roads.
The Met office forecasters said in northern Scotland damage to buildings was possible, such as tiles blowing off roofs. Longer journey times and cancellations were likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected.
“There is a good chance that power cuts may also occur. Large waves are expected and beach material may be thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.”
The amber warning was in effect from 6am and was scheduled to run until 11.55pm. The yellow warning started at the same time, but is due to expire at 6pm.
Less severe warnings of wind, snow and ice were in place for Friday and Saturday across northern and western parts of the UK. They include all of Northern Ireland, most of Wales and Scotland and parts of England extending as far east as Sheffield.
On Thursday morning, train services were suspended between Aberdeen and Inverness, Inverness and Wick, Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh as well some Glasgow Queen Street routes to the west coast.
“With stormy weather expected across the north of Scotland we would urge people to check with their operators before they travel, especially if they are planning a ferry journey,” said Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf.
“There may also be bridge restrictions, particularly for high-sided vehicles, and we would urge road users to check the latest information on wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website to see where this is likely.”
A North Sea platform shut down production due to safety fears over weather conditions caused by Storm Caroline. CNR International said it would remove all of the 159 staff on Ninian South, about 240 miles from Aberdeen, from the structure as a precaution.
A frontal system brought by Caroline meant a wet and windy start for the southern half of the UK, before cold temperatures were due to set in.
By the afternoon, a mixture of sleet and snow showers were expected to work their way across the whole of Britain.