Storm Babet is set to hit the UK on Thursday, with a forecast of heavy rain and strong winds resulting in a rare red weather warning from the Met Office.
Extensive road closures could be expected in some areas of the UK, due to risks of fast-flowing or deep floodwater, with some other modes of travel also facing disruption – though currently, most bus, rail and airline services are reportedly running as normal.
The rare “risk to life” weather warning accompanying Storm Babet comes into effect for the regions of Central, Tayside and Fife and Grampian in Scotland, from 6pm on Thursday until midday on Friday.
It is the first red warning for rain issued in the UK since Storm Dennis in February 2020, while an amber wind warning has also been issued for parts of eastern Scotland.
Yellow severe weather warnings for strong winds and heavy rain have been issued through to Saturday for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern and eastern England.
The storm has already caused extensive flooding in parts of Ireland, after sweeping in from the Atlantic on Wednesday.
Where could travel be affected?
Some ScotRail services could face “significant disruption” from Thursday until at least early Saturday, depending on weather conditions and any required railway infrastructure repairs.
ScotRail services are suspended between:
- Aberdeen and Elgin;
- Edinburgh and Aberdeen via Fife;
- Perth and Aberdeen via Dundee;
- Dunblane and Perth;
- Perth and Aviemore;
- Tain and Wick/Thurso;
- All Fife Circle services.
The operator advised customers on affected routes not to travel, as alternative transport would not be available and the adverse weather would make for poor driving conditions.
It added that services between Glasgow Queen Street and Aberdeen/Inverness, and between Edinburgh Waverley and Aberdeen/Inverness would also be affected, while delays or cancellations could occur on other services across the network due to “precautionary speed restrictions”.
Updates for all ScotRail services can be found on ScotRail JourneyCheck or the ScotRail website, while customers whose journey has been cancelled or disrupted due to the weather have the option to travel one day before or two days after the date on their ticket, or otherwise apply for fee-free refunds on any unused tickets.
A statement from Network Rail, who own most of the UK’s rail network, said: “We are closely monitoring the potential impact Storm Babet will have on the rail network, using our specialist forecasting.
“Our teams will be working hard to ensure that appropriate measures are in place, particularly at key locations, to keep trains running safely and as reliably as possible. Customers are advised to check before they travel.”
Avanti West Coast railways advised that passengers on services to or from Scotland on Thursday and Friday could face disruptions including delayed journeys, late notice amendments or cancellations.
It recommended that anyone travelling plan ahead, allow extra time for journeys and check its website, adding that it would email customers whose booked journeys may be affected by the weather.
Travel information for other rail networks throughout the UK can be found on Trainline’s railway status page, which indicates varying degrees of disruption could be expected due to severe weather.
What about flights and bus travel?
An alert on Aberdeen Airport’s website advised that weather warnings “may result in travel disruption”, but advised passengers to check with their airlines directly for the status of their flight.
Glasgow Airport, Highlands and Islands Airports (which includes Dundee) and Edinburgh Airport offered similar advice, with the latter adding that no impacts to the schedule were currently seen but that the situation was being monitored.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for First Aberdeen, the FirstBus subsidiary and main bus company operator in Aberdeen, said: “All services are out and operating with Aberdeen having a yellow warning for wind and amber for rain. Plans are in place if flooding or falling trees start to impact our services.
“We will continue to monitor any changes in advice by weather forecasters and inform customers to follow our social media and website for updates on alternations we make.”
FirstBus added that it did not anticipate disruptions to its services in other parts of the UK.
Public transport information for other bus and coach routes that may be affected can be found on the Traveline Scotland website.
This story is being updated.