The Scottish Government has warned locals to be prepared for weather chaos as Storm Caroline moves into the country.
Winds of as much as 90mph have been predicted in parts of Scotland as conditions deteriorate on Thursday, with a severe “yellow” warning for wind issued for Tayside and Fife.
Much of Scotland is now covered by a more serious “amber” warning from the forecaster, with widespread travel disruption and dangerously large waves predicted between 6am and 6pm.
A Met Office yellow warning of snow and ice is also in place across Tayside from Friday into Saturday, with “blizzard conditions” expected across Scotland.
The snow showers are predicted to start across northern regions on late Thursday evening, with 8in forecast in parts of the country throughout the weekend.
Drivers have been warned of bridge closures and restrictions, with rail disruption expected and ferries likely to be cancelled. Gritters will also be patrolling Scotland’s trunk roads.
Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “We are facing some challenging weather conditions in the next few days as a result of Storm Caroline and we will be working closely with our partners to try to mitigate the worst of these and get information out to the public so that they can plan their journeys.
“Disruption is very likely but we will make every effort to recover the network as quickly as possible when incidents do occur.
“On Thursday, the strength of the wind during the morning peak period is likely to lead to bridge restrictions and closures and we would urge drivers to check ahead. The Traffic Scotland mobile site gives them up to date information on any incidents on the network. The wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website will let people see when restrictions are likely.
“Moving forward, snow and ice will become more of a feature of the storm and our gritters and patrols will be out across the network. There is plenty of salt available and new vehicles are being trialled to improve our response.
“Our gritter tracker is back online so that people can see where our gritters have been out in their area.”
Commercial director of CalMac Graeme Macfarlan said: “With Storm Caroline expected to see strong winds gusting across the north of Scotland tomorrow disruption to ferry services is a high possibility.
“We would urge passengers who need to travel, to allow extra time for their journey and to keep track of the status of their sailing on the website before setting out on their journey.
“Passengers also have the option of signing up for our text service to get the very latest service updates via their phone.”