Police issue 'do not travel' warning as Storm Babet intensifies
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A 'do not travel' warning has been issued by police as Storm Babet continues to intensify.
Police Scotland urged people not to travel within, or to, the areas covered by the imminent red weather warning, which comes into force at 6pm on Thursday.
The Met Office extended the area covered by this rare 'danger to life' alert earlier on Thursday. It now encompasses a section of the key A9 trunk road between the Highlands and central belt in the Dunkeld and Perth area.
Police warned that road conditions in this area would be "extremely dangerous" with floodwater levels that "could cause a danger to life".
And it has cautioned motorists in areas covered by amber and yellow warnings of the dangers they face if they risk travel.
In a statement they said: "The Met Office has extended the area likely to be impacted by the Red weather warning for rain today and Friday for Storm Babet.
"This means extremely dangerous travel conditions and floodwater could cause a danger to life.
"This is in addition to Amber warnings for rain and wind likely to affect Highland.
"All road users should avoid any form of travel in areas covered by the red weather warning.
"Conditions for travel may be extremely dangerous with disruption and significant delays.
"Always consider the consequences of driving when there is a warning to avoid travel.
"If you drive in areas covered by amber or yellow warnings, be aware surface water can increase your stopping distance by at least double.
"Plan ahead and don’t travel into areas likely to be affected by the Red weather warning.
"Listen to media broadcasts, including radio, for updates.
"Follow your local authority for the latest updates in your area via Facebook, Twitter or their website. This will include the latest on any rest centres being opened.
"Find out if your area is affected by a weather warning on the Met Office website.
"Other information can be found on Ready Scotland and Traffic Scotland websites and social media accounts."
The stark warning from police comes amid increasing travel disruption in the far north, with further air, rail and ferry services cancelled in the past few hours.
CalMac had already announced the suspension of all daytime passenger ferries on its Ullapool-Stornoway route, but has since also confirmed that its overnight freight services will also not sail. Further disruption is also possible on the route into Friday.
Loganair meanwhile, has announced that more than 20 of its flights in Scotland have been cancelled including the LM130 and LM131 Inverness, Kirkwall and Sumburgh.
And falling trees have caused cancellations to ScotRail services on the Kyle of Lochalsh line west of Stromeferry. This is in addition to widespread cancellations already announced elsewhere on its Highland network, such as the suspension of all trains north of Tain.
And Highland Council took the decision to suspend all of its own bus services at midday on THursday, with a review set to take place at midday on Friday.
Communities dotted across the Highlands have also been affected by power outages during Thursday.
Some of these included Durness, Kinlochbervie, Lochinver, Bonar Bridge, Dornie, Achiltibuie, Ullapool, Gairloch, Glenelg, Invergarry, Mallaig, Roy Bridge, and Kilchoan among others.