Where is Storm Caroline? Latest maps show storm on track to hit UK.
Scotland and Northern Ireland are set for “significant accumulations” of snow as the disruption promised by Storm Caroline begins.
While the worst of the wind and snow are expected in northern parts of the UK, the Met Office is warning that “scattered sleet and snow showers can be expected almost anywhere in the UK” tonight.
Snow showers could continue until Monday – though they are likely to be “isolated” through the weekend.
While some may be excited by the prospect of pre-Christmas snow, Met Office meteorologist John West has warned that Caroline’s winds have the potential to be “devastating”.
Winds of between 60-70mph were anticipated in northern Scotland as the storm barreled in on Thursday morning.
In exposed areas winds could reach 90mph.
The Met Office has warned there could be a “danger to life” because of flying debris and has issued an amber “be prepared” warning for northern Scotland.
Please listen to the ‘wee guys’ and don’t get carried away trying to get photos of #StormCaroline – we continue to urge the public to avoid exposed coastal areas during severe weather #WeatherAware #FloodAware pic.twitter.com/awnSLD6xOu
— TheCoastguardTeam (@CoastguardTeam) December 6, 2017
A less severe yellow warning is in place for southern Scotland and northern England.
All schools and nurseries in Lewes, Harris and Uist in the Western Isles were closed on Thursday as a precaution and a North Sea platform about 240 miles from Aberdeen has been shut, removing all 159 staff.
Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services between Tarbet and Lochranza, Oban and Tiree via Coll, and Ullapool and Stornoway have been cancelled for the rest of the day, with other services also facing disruption.
The Forth Road Bridge connecting Edinburgh with Fife and Tay Road Bridge connecting Fife and Dundee are closed to double-decker buses, with the Skye and Kessock bridges shut to high-sided vehicles.
Rail services in Scotland have also been counting the cost of the storm, with a trampoline blown onto the track at Neilston causing cancellations between the village station and Glasgow Central.
The first service to run as scheduled on Thursday was not until 7.55am.
Meanwhile, homes in Broadford, Skye, Lybster and Wick are suffering from power cuts, with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks warning that some could be without electricity until Thursday evening.
Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf, said: “With stormy weather expected across the north of Scotland we would urge people to check with their operators before they travel, especially if they are planning a ferry journey.
“There may also be bridge restrictions, particularly for high-sided vehicles, and we would urge road users to check the latest information on wind thresholds on the Traffic Scotland website to see where this is likely.”