The Forth Road Bridge has reopened after work to repair damage caused by a blown-over lorry was finished quicker than expected.

It had been closed since 2am on Wednesday when the lorry toppled on to the central reservation damaging about 40m of metal work.

The bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles at the time and the 54-year-old male driver has been charged by police over the incident.

The vehicle was lifted by a crane and removed more than 12 hours later, with welders working on repairs to the central reservation.

Operators thought it would be 6am on Thursday before the bridge could be opened to traffic but the work was completed ahead of schedule.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf praised bridge staff but said the lorry crash was "a very serious incident" that showed the consequences of ignoring travel advice during severe weather.

He said: "Once again, the Forth Road Bridge team has stepped up to repair the bridge. They have successfully removed the overturned HGV and carried out temporary repair work to the damaged central reserve safety grille on the bridge.

"I would like to pay tribute to the engineers and workers who have faced up to some very challenging and difficult weather conditions throughout the day, to complete the work and get the bridge reopened as quickly and as safely as possible.

"The bridge is now open in both directions for traffic, subject to any restrictions the weather may bring, in line with the forecast.

"The closure of the bridge was the result of an HGV driver ignoring travel advice and restrictions for high sided vehicles using the bridge during a period of severe weather warnings. Thankfully no one was hurt in this incident, but a great deal of disruption has been caused."

Mark Arndt, Amey's representative for the Forth Road Bridge, said: "It's been a challenging day but our team has put in a tremendous amount of effort to get the HGV off the bridge and complete the repair work while battling with strong winds, rain and sleet.

"We're pleased that the bridge has now been reopened but we are mindful that with adverse weather forecast for the coming days, there may be further restrictions. We'd urge drivers to check our website or the Traffic Scotland Twitter feed for up-to-date travel information before they start their journey."

Elsewhere, high winds brought travel disruption to roads and rail lines, while power cuts hit other parts of the country.

A gust of 77mph was recorded on Tiree while South Uist was hit by one of 73mph.

A mountain rescue team was called out to Ben Lomond to help four people stranded near the summit in severe weather and successfully resolved the situation.

Severe weather warnings for wind and snow remain in place for Thursday.

Forecaster Craig Snell said there could be ''blizzard-like conditions across parts of Scotland'', leading to ''some very tricky driving conditions''.

There is also a chance of thunder and lightning, which could disrupt the power supply and bring so-called ''thundersnow''.

Rod Dennis, of the RAC, said drivers should be prepared for ''tricky driving conditions and significantly extended journey times''.

Electricity distributor SP Energy Networks urged people to be prepared for power loss by taking steps such as keeping a battery-powered torch to hand, keeping a mobile phone charged, and unplugging powered equipment such as TVs and laptops as well as heaters, electric fires and cookers.

SP Energy Networks director Guy Jefferson said: ''Although power cuts are rare events for most people, it makes sense to be prepared just in case.

''If there is a power outage, our team of engineers are on hand to fix faults and get people's power supply back as soon as possible.

''Our customer service team also work around the clock to keep residents informed, provide advice and take reports of power loss - the quicker we are alerted to a power cut, the quicker we can respond.''