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Widespread travel disruption expected as ‘Storm Arwen’ blows in

High winds from ‘Storm Arwen’ are likely to cause widespread travel disruption in Orkney tomorrow afternoon and into the weekend – across road, ferry and air transport. 

A high wind Amber weather warning has been issued by the Met Office for the period between 3pm on Friday, November 26 and 9am on Saturday November, 27, with north-easterly winds expected to reach up to 75mph in exposed areas. 

A Yellow weather warning is in place from 9am on Friday. 

Internal and external ferry and air services are likely to be cancelled – and Stagecoach has also warned that public services may be suspended for a period.

All schools in the county will close at 1pm to allow pupils to return home before the worst of the weather hits.  

The Orkney Local Emergency Coordination Group (OLECG) met this afternoon with services on call throughout the weekend to deal with any issues as they arise. 

David Hall, Police Scotland area inspector for Orkney, chaired the meeting.  He said: “Although we are all well used to bad weather at this time of year, the strength of winds we are expecting could bring additional disruption, particularly to our transport networks.  

“Winds are expected to peak in the mid-afternoon, with heavy rain also expected.

“I’d encourage local people to plan any journeys accordingly and consider staying at home if you can – if you can’t, make sure and update yourself before you leave home with the latest news from the transport providers.

“Emergency response services – including Orkney Islands Council and SSEN – are on standby to deal with any weather related issues and we will continue to monitor the situation throughout tomorrow.”

“There is always the possibility that some homes may be affected by a loss of power. In those circumstances, we would ask friends, family and neighbours to keep an eye on people who may be experiencing problems as a result – and dial 105 to report any power issues. 

“We would ask that people ensure that anything that could be blown about is safely stowed away or tied down – strips of plastic or polythene, for instance, can cause power cuts if they get wrapped around power lines.”

Weather and transport updates are available on the OIC Updates Facebook page and on the @OrkneyCouncil and @OrkneyPolice Twitter feeds.

Readyscotland.org has a list of tips to stay safe including:

  • Securing loose outdoor objects around your property, like guttering, pipes, roof tiles, fences and trampolines
  • Safely checking if friends or neighbours need any help, remembering to follow COVID safety guidance
  • If you have to travel, give yourself extra time, take a winter car kit, a warm jacket, boots, and a blanket
  • Taking care by the coast as there may be large waves and spray.
  • Being aware of snow on high ground
  • Where possible, parking away from trees and walls
  • Keeping a supply of essential food and bottled water for your family and pets