ISLE OF BARRA
 News Updated 18/11/15 Islands Bill Consultation Seek Views Storm Abigail Storm Abigail has arrived in Barra forcing schools to close on Thursday and causing widespread disruption to travellers. Very strong winds are expected to spread across much of Scotland during Thursday afternoon, evening and through much of Friday. The strongest winds are developing across the Western Isles, Skye, and the western and northern coastal fringes of the Highlands during Thursday evening and night, with severe gales gusting to 70-80mph, and the potential for gusts of around 90mph in exposed places. The Amber Warning for Wind has been updated and is now valid from 1800 on Thursday until 1200 on Friday. It is anticipated that the strongest winds will spread from the southwest of the warning area - Barra and the Uists, Skye plus the southwest Highlands during Thursday evening, and extend north and eastwards overnight and into Friday morning. The current forecast timings of the peak winds in each area are as follows – Barra and the Uists 1800-0000, Lewis, Harris and the west Highlands 2100-0300, north Highlands and the Orkney Islands 0000-0600, the Shetland Islands 0500-1100. The wording of the warning also reflects the potential impacts from lightning, and large waves possibly leading to over- topping along some coasts and causeways. Transport Disruption Caledonian MacBrayne has reported that 24 of its 25 routes have been disrupted. The MV Clansman departed Castlebay at 0650 Thursday. Thursday’s Oban to Castlebay sailing has been cancelled with the Friday ferry from Oban remaining under review. All sailings between Ardmhor and Eriskay have also been cancelled on Thursday with Friday’s sailings remaining on amber alert.The two flights from Glasgow were also cancelled on Thursday. Vulnerable NeighboursPolice Scotland said people in the worst affected areas should expect the likelihood of power cuts and disruption to travel. The force said: "In addition to the high winds and lightning, there are warnings of large waves which may lead to overtopping along costal routes and causeways. There is a strong possibility of disruption to public transport and power utilities. "Members of the public, businesses and communities are advised to plan ahead and prepare for possible power outages ahead of the storm."Where possible, secure outdoor items which could be dangerous in the wind. It is also asked that communities look out for vulnerable neighbours." SSE's Electricity Charges - Western Isles Poverty Action Group Speaking after SSE announced half yearly pre-tax profits of £549M, up by 48% on the same period last year, Cllr Angus McCormack, Chair of the Western Isles Poverty Action Group, said: “It is completely unacceptable that 71% of people in the Western Isles are in fuel poverty over yet another winter, while SSE shareholders receive healthy dividends. The UK Government has asked SSE to reduce its prices as one of the Big 6 Energy companies but so far SSE appear to have failed to respond. Serious consideration must now be given to calling SSE to answer before the House of Commons Energy Committee.”    
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ISLE OF BARRA