Winds up to hurricane speeds of 90mph are set to lash the Western Isles on Wednesday,
sparking fears for public safety.
Islanders are urged not to travel unless their journey is absolutely essential.
Schools, nurseries, libraries and sports centres will be shut across the islands
while all non-emergency health appointments are cancelled.
Chief Inspector Gordon Macleod, of Western Isles Police, highlighted the seriousness
of an upgraded Met Office warning and the likelihood of unusually high waves.
He said”We have got to look at the safety of the travelling public.”
He said public agencies had to ensure they are prepared for “any eventuality should
the storm hit us as forecast.”
He added: “To try and reduce the number of people travelling, we ask people only
travel if it is entirely necessary - people would be required to risk assess that
In a bid to avoid having too many people venturing out in potentially dangerous conditions,
all schools and a raft of council-run facilities will not open. Non-emergency appointments
at GP surgeries are cancelled.
Today, the Western Isles Emergency Planning Group convened its second urgent meeting
of the week after the Met Office upgraded its severe weather warning for the Hebrides.
The meeting heard that the combination of powerful strong winds and high tides could
increase sea levels by 60cm.
The storm surge could hit the length of the west coast along the islands - particularly
vulnerable are the exposed causeway roads links interconnecting the different islands
Police and council staff will be patrolling coastal roads as the tide rises.
The storm is expected to peak between 11am to 6pm and it will become wintry during
the day. Winds will remain strong into Thursday.
Council depots, libraries, museums, sports and leisure facilities will also be closed
Bin collection services have been cancelled and Creed Recycling Centre will be shut.
Public bus services are liable to be cancelled or disrupted.
Elderly and disabled people needing home care will face disruption, with carers attending
priority clients if safe to travel. In practice, it is likely carers will avoid making
home visits in exposed villages until the storm starts to abate.
Western Isles Council urged islanders to check on vulnerable relatives and neighbours.