September 16, 2013 – SCOTLAND – Scotland experienced all four seasons in one day yesterday, as the first storm of autumn swept across the country, bringing chaos to the country’s roads. Torrential rain, accompanied by gale-force winds, gave way to sunny periods, before the wet weather returned. The Cairngorms were hit by gusts of 100 mph, with snow anticipated last night, and the Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles after wind speeds of 69 mph were recorded. However, not everyone was bemoaning the gales. The weather was perfect for Scottish Windfest, at Barassie Beach in Troon, where windsurfers and kitesurfers were competing. Last night, the Met Office issued a blanket “yellow” warning, forecasting blustery winds continuing into today. They said high-altitude jetstream winds from the Atlantic pushing 200 mph – almost twice the usual – triggered the storm. It brought torrential rain yesterday morning, which flooded Nitshill Road and Thornliebank Road, in the south of Glasgow, with motorists in Dumfries suffering the worst driving conditions in the country with heavy spray on main roads.
The weather also caused severe disruption to Caledonian MacBrayne’s ferry timetable on the west coast, where dozens of sailings were either delayed or cancelled. Worst affected were the routes between Oban, Coll and Tiree, the new link between Ardrossan and Campbeltown, and the Tarbert to Portavadie crossing. A spokesman for Cal Mac said: “Ferry services across the network have been badly affected by high winds. “The bad weather is expected to continue into Monday and ferry travellers are advised to check our website (www.calmac.co.uk) for the latest information. Traffic Scotland warned motorists of high winds on the Skye, Friarton, Tay and Erskine bridges. And there was rail disruption on west coast northbound routes, after a tree fell on to overhead lines between Lockerbie and Carstairs. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) issued flood warnings in Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway and west central Scotland. The CairnGorm funicular railway was closed all morning yesterday as 100mph winds blasted the area, but it was opened by midday. Paul Nixon, CairnGorm’s customer manager, said: “We’ve just been keeping a close eye on the weather today, making sure that visitors can come back down. “We’re expecting some snow tonight, but it’s unlikely to lie and will be restricted to the very top of the mountain. “This sort of weather usually does mark the start of winter for us really. In the past there has been skiing in October, and people are anticipating a very good season.” Tom Morgan, of the Met Office, said: “Scotland is only half-way there with the severe wind problems. –The Scotsman