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The highest level of warning has been given about today's weather - a red alert
map of winds
Update by news editor   08-12-2011

Hurricane warning for Scotland

Schools close as winds of over 90 mph expected to cause widespread damage

Scotland is on red alert with hurricane-force winds set to hit the country today, along with heavy sleet and snow.

A red alert is the highest possible warning that can be given by Met Office, which monitors the weather.

Hurricane-strength winds of over 90 miles-per-hour are expected to cause lots of damage and disruption.

Gale force winds have already hit the Western Isles and are expected to cause disruption across the rest of the country as the day goes on.

Schools across Scotland have closed or will send pupils home early.

Lorraine Cameron from Renfrewshire Council said:

"The safety of our pupils is our chief concern.

"We realise this decision will cause parents some inconvenience but in these circumstances we have no other choice."

The storms will be among the worst the country has seen for years. They will cause flying debris, dangerous roads, bridge closures, disruption to flights, train services and ferries, and power cuts.

Southern and central Scotland are expected to be the worst hit areas. The gales are expected to turn into category one hurricane-strength winds.

Christmas attractions, including Glasgow's Ice on George Square, will be closed.

Drivers have been told to travel only if they absolutely have to. Householders have been warned to tie down anything that could be blown over, like barbeques, children's play equipment and bins.

Flood alerts have also been made. Heavy rain along with a lot of melted snow is expected to cause many rivers to overflow.

 

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Hurricane warning for Scotland

What should people do to stay safe?

People have been advised to stay at home if they can. Everyone should tie down or put away any outdoor furniture or things that could blow around and cause damage, like barbeques, trampolines or climbing frames.

Keep windows and doors inside the house closed all the time. If you have to go out, try to use a door at the most sheltered side of the building and close it behind you.

If you do go outside, try not to shelter close to buildings or trees.

Drivers should not go anywhere in their car unless they absolutely have to, and then they should bring supplies like food and blankets with them in case they get stuck somewhere because of the weather.

After the storm, do not touch any electrical or telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging. Don't walk too close to trees, buildings or walls in case they have been weakened.

What is a hurricane?

A hurricane is a very dangerous weather system that has winds of over 74 miles-per-hour. A hurricane is formed when low pressure over tropical waters causes thunderstorms and winds to start circling. In the northern hemisphere the system moves anti-clockwise, in the southern hemisphere it would go clockwise.

A hurricane is the same thing as a typhoon and both of these are tropical cyclones. If there is a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic or north-east Pacific, it is called a hurricane, but if it is in the north-west Pacific it is called a typhoon. It is one of the most dangerous natural hazards to people.

We don't get hurricanes in the UK because the waters around us are too cold, but we can get hurricane-strength winds - meaning winds of 74 miles-per-hour or more.

What does a "red alert" mean?

A red alert is the strongest possible warning that is given by the Met Office about severe weather. It means that the weather it is warning about is almost certain to happen and is expected to have the maximum impact. When there is a red alert in force it means that people should take action to protect themselves from the weather.

How much trouble is today's storm expected to cause?

The winds will almost certainly cause flying debris, dangerous roads, bridge closures, disruption to flights, train services and ferries, and power cuts. Most schools in central and south-western Scotland have been closed or will send pupils home early today. Schools in other areas of the country have shut too.

How strong can the wind get?

The strongest wind ever recorded in mainland Britain was in 1986 when gusts of 173 miles per hour were recorded in the Cairngorms.

 

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adapted from article by Martin Williams
read original story here

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