GALE-FORCE winds are set to batter the Lothians, with damaging gusts of up to 70mph expected to bring widespread disruption today.
Weather experts said the wind speeds could cause traffic chaos on bridges and exposed stretches, and even topple trees and electricity lines.
The warnings came as Scotland recovers from hurricane-force gusts of up to 104mph which hit the north and west of the country yesterday – the UK’s strongest since 102mph winds struck Edinburgh on January 3 last year.
Weather forecaster Helen Chivers said residents across the Lothians could expect more bad weather tonight and in the early hours of tomorrow.
She said: “These will be really gusty winds – strong enough to bring down trees. People need to take care.”
She said the Lothians would see sustained winds of 50- 60mph, which could touch 70mph on higher ground.
She also warned of downpours set to hit the region, which could cause damage as recent heavy snow thaws.
Ms Chivers called on residents to be on the lookout for falling branches.
She said: “You will certainly see damage to trees. I would also expect disruption to traffic flows, as well as speed restrictions. Anyone who’s driving a high-sided van or lorry needs to be aware of the risks of driving in that sort of wind.
“The afternoon will see a lull before more heavy showers come through. I would think you are looking at something in the region of ten to 15mm of rain falling from those two bands.”
Council officials have called on residents in the Capital to be prepared for the effects of high wind and rain in the run-up to the weekend.
A spokeswoman said: “As with any forecasts of bad weather, we would advise residents and businesses to heed the weather warnings and take any appropriate action as required to safeguard their homes and properties.”
Bosses at Transport Scotland called on motorists to heed warnings and drive carefully.
A spokesman said: “With a Met Office amber alert for parts of Scotland issued today, we would ask the public to monitor the weather forecasts.
“In particular, ferry and air services could be affected so travellers seeking to use those modes should check in advance with their operator.”
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency currently has no flood alerts in place for Edinburgh and the Lothians.
MONTH FOR MAYHEM
THE Capital is no stranger to recovering from high winds in January.
Edinburgh was lashed by 102mph gusts on January 3 last year – the highest for 14 years – which brought chaos to the city.
Waverley Station had to be closed, 60 flights from Edinburgh Airport were cancelled, and trees and chimneys were toppled.
In one of the most serious incidents, a woman suffered a head wound after being hit by debris at the Premier Inn in Morrison Street.
Several road crashes were reported, with the driver of one HGV injured when his vehicle toppled over on the A1 near Dunbar.
A 30ft wall was toppled in Salamander Street.