** Met Office yellow 'be aware' warning issued for snow and ice in the Western isles from 16:00 Thursday until 23:59 Thursday and 00:05 Friday 8th and 18:00 Sat 9th
**All council services, including buses, are expected to be running as normal tomorrow, Friday, but travel disruption is likely and local conditions will vary. The public are advised to travel with care.
++All schools and nurseries in Lewis, Harris and Uist are closed to pupils TODAY (Thursday 7th December) but expected to be open tomorrow (Friday 8th December), local decisions will be made in the morning.
**Loganair from Glasgow - due at 11.30 - arrived at 13.38. First flight of day arrived from Inverness at 14.39
++Flights to and from Stornoway and Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh and Benbecula earlier this morning were cancelled. See www.hial.co.uk/stornoway-airport/
**The flight to and from Aberdeen has been cancelled.
++ Ferries cancelled today on Leverburgh to Berneray route
**Sailings cancelled on Eriskay-Barra route
++Ferries cancelled to Arran, Coll & Tiree, the Small Isles and Mallaig to Armadale
**All ferries from Stornoway to Ullapool are cancelled on Thursday and Friday. The freight ferry on Saturday morning is also cancelled. Further services remain under review.
UPDATE from Wednesday December 6th....
Ferries between Leverburgh and Berneray were cancelled for today (Wednesday) with winds hitting 55mph.
The ferries between Lochmady and Uig on Skye tomorrow morning are cancelled and the links to Tarbert may be cancelled if weather conditions worsen.
As at 20.00 on Wednesday night, the Met Office forecast for Stornoway for Thursday is for WNW winds to peak around 9am with gusts up to 78 mph and general wind speeds around 45mph.
The Met Office Amber notification warning of severe weather across the Highlands and Islands as a whole is valid from 06:00 until 23:55 on Thursday 7th December "Storm Caroline is expected to bring a spell of very windy weather to northern Scotland.
"Gusts of 70 to 80 mph are expected widely with gusts to 90 mph possible in exposed areas. Flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life. Some damage to buildings is possible, such as tiles blowing off roofs. Longer journey times and cancellations are likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected. There is a good chance that power cuts may also occur. Large waves are expected and beach material may be thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.”
As a precautionary measure - all schools and nurseries in Lewis, Harris and Uist are closed to pupils tomorrow, Thursday 7th December. Teaching staff should make their way to their school or the nearest school as they deem safe to do so.
Barra does not fall within the Met Office amber weather warning area and therefore the situation there will be reviewed early in the morning by the Headteacher and transport operator. Parents will be contacted through Groupcall as appropriate.
There will be no bus service in Lewis, Harris and Uist tomorrow morning. This situation be reviewed late-morning. Passengers throughout the Western Isles are advised to contact bus operators directly using the contact phone numbers with the current public bus timetables. Timetables are available on the Comhairle website - http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/travel/busservice/index.asp?tabindex=1
It is anticipated that bin collections will go ahead as normal tomorrow morning. However, bins should not be put out overnight. If collections are cancelled, this will be communicated through the normal means.
CalMac has issued a weather warning in the face of Storm Caroline hitting its area of operations tomorrow (December 7). It says iis likely that severe disruption will affect a significant number of routes and several sailings have already been cancelled as winds of up to 80mph have been forecast. CalMac’s Commercial Director Graeme Macfarlan said: ‘With Storm Caroline expected to see winds gusting to 70 mph 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." Passengers can sign up for the text service via www.calmac.co.uk.
Meanwhile all libraries and sports and leisure facilities in the Western Isles will be open as normal tomorrow (Thursday) although they may have staff unable to get to work without buses and with no childcare arrangment. The Comhairle Offices will be open as normal tomorrow (Thursday) and the Council says that staff are expected to make their way to work as soon as they deem it safe to do so.
Appropriate measures are being put in place for care users and carers who will be contacted directly. If there are any local care related issues, you may also contact FAIRE on 01851 701702. CnES Roads and Police Scotland will be monitoring all causeways. The public are advised to secure any loose debris. The construction industry is advised to secure scaffolding and any lose items on building sites. The Comhairle asks family, neighbours and friends living nearby to assist and support elderly and vulnerable people.
On Friday, increasingly frequent snow showers already affecting parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England will extend across many other northern and western parts of the UK. 2-5 cm of snow is likely fairly widely, with 10-20 cm in places, mainly northern Scotland, Northern Ireland, north Wales and perhaps the northwest Midlands. Icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight.
UPDATED 20.15 Wednesday December 6