City bracing itself for rain and 90mph winds

GLASGOW was on alert today with storm-force winds of up to 90mph expected to batter the country, causing widespread disruption and damage.

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Heavy rain hit the city this morning, sparking problems for festive travellers and commuters.

Forecasters were anticipating wet and windy weather in the run-up to Christmas, with gusts of up to 90mph expected on the west coast today.

The strongest winds in Glasgow and West Central areas are expected from noon.

The Met Office has upgraded its warnings for high winds across large areas of northern and western Scotland.

Amber "be prepared" weather warnings have now been issued for storm-force winds over much of the country.

There have also been multiple warnings of flooding from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

More than 20 "flooding is expected, immediate action required" warnings have been issued.

Warnings have been put in place for Renfrew, Helensburgh, Tarbert, Largs, and Dumbarton.

The greatest risk is for properties in the Borders.

However, the gales were due to ease off on Christmas Day, though snow was expected on high ground.

John Griffiths, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "Today, winds are going to be very strong, up to storm force, with damaging gusts of 90mph this afternoon.

"They will ease off through into tomorrow but it is a windy period for Scotland and stormy in the lead up to Christmas Day.

"There will be lots more rain and snow over high ground."

Transport bosses said they were closely monitoring conditions and urged people to consider the weather as they planned their journeys over the Christmas period.

Traffic Scotland operator manager Stein Connelly said: "The message, as always, is to make sure you have as much information as possible before starting your journey and to consider when you travel."

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne warned services may be cancelled or disrupted at short notice due to severe weather.

In England, scores of homes have been damaged, and around 100,000 properties are without power.

Two people died in yesterday's storm - a man in Cumbria and a woman in Gwynedd.

A woman has also died in a car crash in "difficult conditions" in Shropshire.

The severe weather has caused disruption at some airports.

At Gatwick, power problems at the north terminal are causing issues with manual check-in and London's Heathrow is urging passengers to check flight details.

Some people were forced to spend the night in their cars at the Port of Dover, waiting to sail to France. The port has now reopened.

Meanwhile, in Dorset, about 25 people trapped in cars by flood water were rescued by fire crews earlier today.

Glasgow and its surrounding areas were battered by storms earlier this month which left many without power.

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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