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Storm Gertrude forces travel chaos in the Highlands

By Philip Murray

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Storms and snow predicted for tonight
Storms and snow predicted for tonight

GALES, snow, ice and heavy rain are expected to batter the area tomorrow and Saturday when Storm Gertrude hits the Highlands.

Amber and yellow weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office with travel looking set to be heavily disrupted.

Scotrail services from Perth to Inverness and Inverness to Kyle/Thurso and Wick are not expected to run with other areas understood to be affected. Services in the central belt will also face disruption. An extremely limited amount of replacement buses are expected to be in operation.

A yellow warning for wind in the Inverness area will come into force at 1am and is expected to remain in place until 6pm on Friday. Further west an amber warning for gales was also in force this morning.

A further yellow warning for rain is already in force and runs until 6pm tomorrow, with a fourth warning, for snow and ice, running from 9pm on Friday until 3pm on Saturday.

Forecasters warn that 40-60mm of rain is possible today and winds could gust to 80mph.

Heavy showers tonight and tomorrow could also bring 5-10cm of snow to areas away from the immediate coast.

"Be aware of some difficult driving conditions and localised disruption to travel," a Met Office spokesman warned.

Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: "We will be withdrawing some services until the worst of the storm has passed.

"The safety of our passengers and workforce is our top priority and we cannot run services on these lines until our engineers have thoroughly inspected the network for any damage.

"In order to get the most up to date information about their journey, customers should check our website or app before setting out to travel. Leaving more time for travel is also advised.

"We will be monitoring the weather conditions closely throughout the day and have specialist teams ready to deploy quickly to deal with any issues caused by the storm.

"We are also working closely with our industry partners to limit disruption while maintaining a safe network for passengers."

ScotRail have urged customers with dated travel anywhere tickets on the ScotRail network on Friday, if possible, to use tickets on services on Thursday (28 January), Saturday (30 January) or later.

For those with weekly or longer season tickets who cannot complete their journey on 29 January as a result of cancelled or part-cancelled services, ScotRail will add an extra day onto season tickets.

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