THE Firth of Clyde rose in a huge tidal surge yesterday, flooding coastal towns across the West of Scotland.

At their highest in early afternoon, waters poured over seawalls from Dunbartonshire to Ayrshire but did not reach any further upriver than Clydebank.

Council bosses in Dumbarton closed the town's High Street as the River Leven, in full flow, met a tide from the estuary driven up by low pressure and high winds.

Water lapped across car parks and access roads in the town centre and flowed through storm drains on to the High Street, West Dunbartonshire Council said.

In nearby Helensburgh, Argyll & Bute, the high tide swept over the town pier and esplanade, flooding a skate park. Further down the estuary, at Largs, in North Ayrshire, the sea swept over the town's putting green.

Heavy seas lashed the A78 from Largs to Skelmorlie, which was closed as a precaution. The same road was also closed further south between Stevenston and Kilwinning.

ScotRail cancelled services on routes to Ayrshire and Dunbartonshire.

Trains at Saltcoats - before they were cancelled - were repeatedly hit by waves.

Some ferries to Belfast were cancelled.

Inland, winds blew down Christmas lights in Cambuslang.

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, visiting Police Scotland's communications HQ in Govan, said: "Preparedness for flooding events such as those experienced by Scottish communities in the past week is key.

He added: "Emergency responders are working extremely hard to provide a co-ordinated response to these difficult conditions."

Forecasters said that while the severe weather was expected to subside today, more rain was on the way.