Severe Weather - Disruption to Services

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The multi-agency Emergency Planning Group for the Western Isles, WIEPCG, met today at 12pm to discuss the severe weather forecast for the Islands on Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd February 2016.

High winds are expected with gusts of up to 90mph. An amber warning has been issued.

The following notification of severe weather was received from the Met Office which is valid from 15:00 Monday 1st February to 09:00 on Tuesday 2nd February 2016: “A deep area of low pressure will push quickly eastwards close to the north of Scotland later on Monday and into Tuesday.

“Some very strong west to southwesterly winds are expected to develop on the southern and western flanks of this system, affecting much of Scotland.

“Gusts of 70-80 mph are expected widely, whilst gusts of 90 mph are possible in the most exposed areas, especially across the Western Isles and along the west coast.

“Added to this, some very large waves are expected, which may lead to localised flooding of coastal roads and causeways.

“Winds will ease during Tuesday morning, but will still be very strong in places for the morning rush hour.

“Be prepared for some potentially severe weather, causing transport disruption and difficult driving, some structural damage, dangerous coastal conditions and disruption to power supplies.”

All schools in the Western Isles are expected to open as normal tomorrow, Tuesday 2nd February. This will be kept under review.

All bus services after 3pm today are cancelled. Passengers are advised to contact bus operators directly using the contact phone numbers with the current public bus timetables.

Timetables are available on the Comhairle website. http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/travel/busservice/current/index.asp

Bus services are expected to run as normal tomorrow.

The public are advised to travel with care, particularly on causeways. CnES Roads and Police will be monitoring all causeways. Scalpay Bridge is closed to all high-sided vehicles

The public are advised to secure any loose debris. The construction industry is advised to secure scaffolding and any lose items on building sites.

The Comhairle would ask family, neighbours and friends living nearby to assist and support elderly and vulnerable people.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is reminding members of the public to take extra care if using candles during any power cuts which occur due to winter storms. In the event of a loss of 999 services, all fire stations will be manned by two crew members.

Appropriate arrangements are being made for all those who receive home care services - Home Care Management will contact Home Care Workers regarding arrangements. All GP appointments for this afternoon have been cancelled but GPs are available in the event of an emergency.

SSE is on red alert and has put in place its contingency plans, ensuring optimum staffing levels to deal with any damage the storm may cause to the electricity network. Any customers who lose their electricity supply are urged to contact SSE on 0800 300 999 to report damage or highlight neighbours or friends who may need extra help.

The public are advised not to put bins out until tomorrow morning.

All Comhairle offices will be closed from 3pm.