HIGH winds have brought travel chaos and power cuts as they buffet some parts of the country.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings of wind and snow for Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
A gust of 93mph was recorded at High Bradfield in South Yorkshire, a high site, while Tiree was hit by a 77mph gust and South Uist by one of 73mph.
The strong winds caused damage across the country overnight, with power cuts reported in Scotland and north-east England.
Northern Powergrid, which supplies power to homes in the North East and Yorkshire, said it had 545 customers without power on Wednesday morning.
The Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh has been closed in both directions after a lorry was blown over at around 2am.
No-one was injured but the bridge is likely to remain closed for some time as the strong winds hamper recovery efforts.
The Forth Road Bridge has been closed in both directions after a lorry was blown over in strong winds.
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) January 11, 2017
Mark Arndt of Amey said: “The bridge is closed in both directions and we are doing everything we can to reopen the route as soon as possible.
“It’s most likely that we’ll be able to reopen one lane of the northbound carriageway later today, however we will need a crane to remove the HGV from the southbound carriageway, and this work is highly dependent on the prevailing wind speeds.
“We are continuing to monitor the forecast and have a team mobilised and ready to respond as soon as it is safe to do so, but it is very likely the bridge will remain closed through the morning peak.
“We know that closing the bridge has a serious impact on people’s journeys and it’s regretful that this situation has arisen.”
The lorry driver has since been charged.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “A 54-year-old man has been charged following a collision on the Forth Road Bridge at around 2am on January 11.
“A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne warned of “heavy disruptions” across the network, with some sailings cancelled for the rest of the day.
Tricky driving conditions are expected on Wednesday as gusts of up to 75mph and wintry weather sweep across northern areas.
Several inches of snow could settle on higher ground in parts of Scotland, while lower areas will receive a dusting.
Forecaster Craig Snell said the snowfall could lead to “dangerous conditions on the roads” and the strong winds could force bridge closures and cause lorry buffeting.
He said the winds would drop off during the afternoon but pick up again by Wednesday evening, leading to a combination of wind and snow.
There is also a chance of thunder and lightning, which could disrupt the power supply and bring so-called “thundersnow”.
Mr Snell added that it would be “a very unsettled and cold day across the northern half of the country”.
Temperatures may drop to minus 5C (23F) in parts of Scotland, but freezing conditions are possible elsewhere in England.
The forecaster said it might feel mild in the morning across the country, but people would “notice the chill” when they headed home after work.
By Thursday, the stream of cold air will spread further south, bringing hazardous conditions to much of the UK.
The Met Office’s snow warning extends to parts of north-west England on Thursday – with a risk of wintry weather in southern England, while strong winds and wintry showers will continue to affect Scotland.
Around 0.8in (2cm) of snow is possible in low-lying areas, while 3.9in (10cm) could fall on high ground.
Mr Snell said the next few days would be “distinctly colder”, with bitter weather across all parts of the country by Thursday.
He added that it would remain “windy and cold on Friday, with potentially some large waves and coastal flooding going down the eastern side of the country”.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe