ON BARRA…2100 hours.
 
Given the forecast conditions for tomorrow morning (Tuesday, 07th January 2020) with wind speeds forecast in excess of 50mph, gusting to 70/75mph, the decision has been taken to cancel ALL Public Service Bus and School runs, operated by MacNeil Coaches, in that period. These decisions, as always, are in the interests of Public Safety. (MacNeil Coaches on Twitter)
 
Due to the forecast tomorrow, Tuesday 7 January, Castlebay School, Castlebay Nursery and Eoligarry Primary will be closed to all pupils. Staff can travel to Castlebay School which will be open from 10:30am if and when they deem it safe to do so. (Castlebay School on Twitter)
 
CalMac has cancelled all ferries to and from Barra. (CalMac Service Updates)
 
The Met Office has this morning (Monday January 6th) issued a renewed warning as strong winds sweep across the isles from the south-west.
 
The yellow ‘be aware’ warning has been updated to show an increased likelihood of disruption across the islands and the west coast of Scotland, with impacts such as short-term loss of power now ‘very likely’ between 5am and 9pm tomorrow (Tuesday).
 
CalMac is showing disruption on all routes to and between the Western Isles, with today’s Oban Castlebay service cancelled and tomorrow’s liable to disruption, while the Sound of Barra service is to set out from Ardmhor at 11.10, remaining subject to review before returning from Eriskay.
 
Services on the Sound of Harris and between Uig and Tarbert remain liable to disruption, and this morning’s sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool have been cancelled, as have all tomorrow’s services. A return sailing between Stornoway and Ullapool is expected to run during a lull in the weather this afternoon.
 
Loganair has not cancelled any services for tomorrow, but has nevertheless offered travellers due to fly on Tuesday the option of changing their plans and re-booking for a different date.
 
 
Storm impacts – travel plans and forecasts (published Sunday 5 January)

Loganair has put contingency plans in place ahead of forecast storm winds affecting the Western Isles in the early part of the week.

It comes in the wake of a revised yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office this morning (Sunday) which advises a strong likelihood of impacts from winds gusting up to 75mph around north-western coasts on Tuesday (January 7th) between 5am and 9pm.

The Met Office says there is a risk of short term loss of power and other services, while it’s likely that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities will be affected by spray and/or large waves.

The storm warnings have already seen CalMac issuing advice about service disruption across the west coast ferry network on Monday and Tuesday, including cancellation of early services between Stornoway and Ullapool tomorrow (Monday) and advice to travellers on the Tarbert to Uig route to travel on Monday if possible, due to the risk of further cancellations.

Now Loganair is offering travellers due to fly on Tuesday January 7th the option of changing their plans and re-booking for a different date – although they stress they are not currently expecting to cancel any flights.

A social media announcement yesterday (Saturday January 4th) said: “In view of the high winds forecast and potential for travel disruption, we are offering customers travelling on flights to and from all Scottish destinations the opportunity to adjust travel plans without charge.

“If you are booked to travel on 07 January 2020, you can choose to re-book on an alternative flight between now and the 14th January 2020. There will be no change fee or difference in fare payable - if there is a seat available on an earlier or later flight, you can transfer your booking to that flight without charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The easiest way to change your flight is to access https://www.loganair.co.uk/managemybooking/ If you cannot find a suitable alternative there, please call on 0344 800 2855 with your booking reference handy and we’ll do our best to help.

“If you choose to remain with your original travel plans, please rest assured that we will do everything that we safely can to fly you to your intended destination as close to the scheduled time as possible. We are continuing to plan to fly all our scheduled services, and we have standby aircraft and crews in place to help recover any disrupted services as soon as reasonably possible once weather conditions permit.”

Lews Castle College UHI meteorologist Eddy Graham commented: “Very typical and thoroughly unpleasant January weather for the coming week ahead - with more torrential rain and severe gales (especially Tuesday - please take care), perhaps followed by some (brief) snow later in the week. There's a risk of thunder and lightning too.

“At present max windspeeds don't look like they'll exceed ~70mph (things start to get dangerous at velocities higher than this), but I recommend to stay tuned to the forecasts regularly and remember it is always safest to stay indoors during a storm.”