Major disruption is expected across Scotland as Storm Dudley looks set to batter the country on Wednesday and Thursday with heavy rain and strong winds.
ScotRail has even taken the decision to end most services early amid fears conditions will be unsafe.
Police Scotland has also warned people of the severe weather, asking that they prepare well and judge if their journey is necessary, driving safely if deciding to do so.
All ScotRail services except those on the Far North, Kyle of Lochalsh and Aberdeen to Inverness lines will stop running at 4pm on Wednesday, when the worst of the storm is expected to hit.
NHS Fife has closed all of its mobile coronavirus testing units due to safety concerns. All fixed testing sites are closing at 3.30pm. All of its vaccination clinics are to close at 4.30pm, the mobile clinic at Cupar is closing at 2pm.
All of those with appointments have been asked to reschedule them.
NHS Tayside closed all of its asymptomatic test sites at 2pm.
The decision was made, Network Rail say, as “a safety precaution”.
Some cross-border services will operate but at reduced speeds.
The disruption is expected to continue until mid-morning on Thursday. Passengers are being urged to check their journey before travelling.
Storm Dudley is expected to bring winds of up to 90mph.
A yellow warning is in place from 3pm on Wednesday with an amber warning in place from 4pm. Both include the chance of injury and danger to life.
The latest forecast, with Christopher. pic.twitter.com/pmngSfnoEL
— BBC Scotland Weather (@BBCScotWeather) February 15, 2022
More severe weather in the shape of strong winds and snow is forecast for Friday as Storm Eunice approaches.
The strength of the wind could damage buildings, and blow debris and trees onto roads and railway tracks, which could cause damage, for example, to overhead electric power lines and signals.
Network Rail says it will have additional engineers out to react to problems and will check all affected lines for damage before reintroducing services as quickly as possible.
Possible ‘significant disruption’
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail route director for Scotland, said: “Storm Dudley has the potential to cause significant disruption to our infrastructure blowing trees onto tracks and damaging equipment.
“We will be working hard on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to respond to any issues caused by Storm Dudley and will reintroduce services as soon as lines are inspected for damage and we are sure it is safe to do so.”
David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: “We know the impact that the earlier withdrawal of services will have on customers but it’s a necessary step to ensure the safety of our staff and customers due to the severe weather.
“If you have to travel on Wednesday, please check the ScotRail app or website before heading to the station. With services being withdrawn in the early afternoon, we’d ask all customers to carefully plan ahead.”
What other trains services are disrupted?
CrossCountry services between Edinburgh and Glasgow and Edinburgh and Aberdeen will be suspended from 4pm until the end of the day. Those between Edinburgh and Newcastle are unaffected.
Due to the weather conditions no alternative routes will be available and no road transport running. People are asked to travel earlier or postpone their journey until Thursday.
Emergency speed restrictions may be imposed from 4pm until the end of the day which will add an extra hour onto Avanti West Coast services to and from Glasgow and Edinburgh. The company has strongly recommended that customers travelling north of Preston do so before 4pm.
All Caledonian Sleeper services for Wednesday evening are cancelled and speed restrictions will be in place from 4pm on LNER services, those running between Edinburgh and Aberdeen/Inverness may be revised but rail replacement will be available to cover affected services.
Government urges caution
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said the Scottish Government will provide advice and support where needed.
He said: “We expect another period of disruption this week, with Storms Dudley and Eunice set to bring strong winds to Scotland.
“High winds may cause issues on roads and bridges, disruption to power supplies and danger from falling trees. We would urge everyone to plan their journeys in advance, exercise caution on the roads, and follow the latest travel advice.
“Other transport services are likely to be affected, so if you are planning to travel by train, ferry or air, please check with your operator to make sure your service is still running.”
He added the Scottish Government’s resilience committee met on Tuesday evening and will “continue to monitor the situation”.
Keeping pets safe
Meanwhile, the Dogs Trust has issued advice on keeping pet canines safe and happy during storms.
It recommends that dogs have something to do to keep them stimulated, such as a food filled toy or long lasting chew, playing games or practicing reward-based training, and having a safe place to hide (such as under a table with blankets), it says owners should allow their dog to do to hide in a place they feel safe.
It says houses and gardens should be made secure in case dogs run away if they are scared, owners should close curtains, turn lights on and turn up the volume on televisions or radios and staying out of flood water.
If owners can head out safely, it recommends always keeping dogs on a lead.
Charlotte Huggins, canine behaviour officer at Dogs Trust, said: “Extreme weather can be distressing for dogs. Signs to look out for include pacing around the home, excessive barking, or trying to run and hide.
“There are steps owners can take to comfort their dog and help them cope if their dogs are becoming anxious. If you’re worried about the weather, keep your dog indoors as much as possible.”
Other travel disruption
The Forth Road Bridge is already closed to double decker buses and drivers are being warned about surface water on the roads.
There may be other restrictions put in place as the storm develops with drivers urged to check before making their journey.