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Storm Barra declared ‘danger to life’ by Met Office as 80mph winds blow in


Storm Barra has been declared a “danger to life” by weather forecasters as it blows in today.

The Met Office upgraded its warnings, predicting wind speeds of up to 80mph and eight inches of snow on higher ground.

They say anyone who ventures near the coast is at risk from high waves and flying debris.

Ferries are cancelled and the transport network faces ­disruption with some bridges closed to high-sided vehicles.

Some communities could be cut off by the blizzards and there are fears electricity supplies could be cut off again.

Power firms say repair crews are on standby in case the network fails like it did during Storm Arwen late last month.

The new weather warning covers almost all of the west coast of the UK. The Met Office yellow warning kicks in at 9am, when winds work their way across Scotland, peaking as they reach the east coast in the ­afternoon.

Sea fronts are expected to be hit by high waves. The official warning ends at midnight.

The Hebridean island which shares Storm Barra’s name is running short of bottled gas for heating and cooking after a delivery was cancelled because of the wind.

Helen McClymont, who runs Barra Island Stores, said: ”Why did it take them to now to name a storm after Barra?

“We’ve been getting battered by the wind for centuries.”

A supply of Christmas trees, which was on its way to Castlebay yesterday failed to arrive after Cal Mac cancelled the ferry from Oban, due to the wind.

At 11am on Tuesday another severe warning, this time for snow, comes into force for large areas of Scotland including the Highlands and Perthshire, south west Scotland, Lothian and Borders.

The warning states: “Spells of hill snow will spread northwards across central and northern England into Scotland during Tuesday, this snow becoming confined to areas north of the Central Belt of Scotland during the evening.

“Two to five cm snow is expected to accumulate quite widely above 200 m with 10 to 20 cm (eight inches) likely in some higher areas, particularly in parts of the Southern Uplands and Highlands.

“Strong winds accompanying the snow will cause blizzards with drifting and poor visibility in places, especially over the highest routes.”

In addition to the hazards expected due to high winds in the east, weathermen say there is a chance some communities could be cut off in the blizzards. This warning also expires at midnight.

Storm Barra is the second-named storm of the season, after Arwen in late November. Driver David Lapage, 35, was killed at the height of Arwen when his truck was crushed by a falling tree on the B977 Dyce to Hatton of Fintray Road in Aberdeenshire.

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