Rare red weather alert for wind issued for parts of Scotland as gusts up to 100mph expected

A rare red weather warning for wind has been issued for parts of Scotland amid Storm Isha, bringing with it gusts up to 100mph.

Late on Sunday evening, the Met Office issued the rare red alert for parts of Caithness, Easter Ross, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

It is only the fifth-ever red alert for wind, with previous warnings issued in December 2011, January 2012, January 2016 and November 2021.

Due to come into force from 1am on Monday until 5am, forecasters have warned there is a “danger to life” amid flying debris, with large waves expected in coastal areas.

Power could be disrupted due to the extremely strong winds, with damage to homes and businesses also likely.

It comes as ScotRail cancelled all services from 7pm on Sunday amid Storm Isha, the ninth named storm since the naming season began in September, and the second of 2024 after Storm Henk at the start of January.

CalMac has also cancelled a number of services across the weekend with more expected.

The Corran Ferry has cancelled all their services as of 4.50pm on Sunday evening due as weather conditions continue to get worse.

Flights to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have been disrupted due to the weather.

The chaotic conditions are set to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday when yellow weather warnings for wind are set to come into place.

The Met Office alert currently covers the whole of Scotland except the Shetland Islands and will come into force around 4pm on Tuesday until 12pm on Wednesday.

The warnings come after a week of arctic conditions throughout Scotland which has seen the closure of multiple schools.

Amid the snowy conditions people in the northern Highlands, Orkney and Shetland have been urged not to travel amid “extremely challenging” road conditions.

Red warnings for any weather conditions are extremely rare and should be taken very seriously as they are not issued lightly.

Computer models have been indicating wind gusts from Storm Isha of 80-90mph and this is already coming to fruition with a gust a few hours ago of 84mph close to the M8 in Salsburgh, just west of Shotts.

Latest model runs have shown an increased threat of even stronger winds travelling across the country in the coming hours with a risk that some spots in the north and north east of the country could take the sting in the tail from this storm with gusts of around 100mph.

While gusts over mountains will on quite a few occasions get gusts of over 100mph, seeing winds of this level in low-lying areas is very rare and that’s why there is concern, especially given that more built up and populated areas are at risk of these gusts.

Places such as Wick, Thurso, Dornoch, Helmsdale, Tain, Cromarty, Nairn, Forres, Elgin, Buckie, Banff, Keith, Huntly, Turriff, Peterhead and Fraserburgh are all within this red warning region.

The last time we had winds of this magnitude in January was in 2015 when the north Highlands had winds around 100mph. Loch Glascarnoch hit 111mph during that storm.

The last time Kinloss recorded winds over 80mph in January was in 1995, although just along the coast in Lossiemouth we had a gust of 87mph recorded in 2005.

Luckily the wind peak in the north comes around low tide, or the rising tide, as opposed to peak tide when coastal flooding would be more likely. That being said, such strong winds could still lead to large waves on the coasts and obviously could be very damaging.

As with all red warnings, you should stay at home and do not travel unless you absolutely have to. These sort of conditions can lead to flying debris with a risk to life.

Winds remain strong but do slowly ease on Monday before another storm system rolls in on Tuesday.

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