POLICE have warned motorists to stay off roads in the Scottish Borders as storm winds sweep into the areas, writes Bob Burgess.
All schools in the area closed at lunchtime and communities have been told by council officials to switch off their festive lights.
All lets of council-owned halls have been cancelled with school concerts and pantomimes having to be rescheduled.
Wind speeds have been gathering all day and a Red Alert issued by the Met Off yesterday for south and central Scotland remains in place.
Experts have predicted the rain-lashed storm gales will reach speeds of 90 miles an hour between 3pm and 6pm.
Scottish Borders Council took the decision yesterday to close schools at lunchtime today and all its social work day centres shut their doors at 1pm.
And officials have warned that some school may have to remain closed tomorrow. A spokesman commented: “This will depend on the impact on the wind throughout today and this evening.
“A decision on any schools closing tomorrow will be made as early as possible tomorrow morning. If we are in a position to make any decision earlier, we will – however it will depend on the conditions of roads and buildings following the storm.”
Parents are advised to keep checking the council website, follow the council on Twitter @scotborders <http://www.twitter.com/scotborders> and listen to local radio for updates.
And people have been warned to be aware of the danger from debris from damaged buildings and wind-felled trees.
The advice from Lothian and Borders Police to drivers was to stay off the roads from 2pm. Anyone driving should do so with extreme care, said the police.
Towns and village have told to switch off Christmas lights until further notice in the interests of public safety.
It is the first time in the Borders that a Red Alert has been issued by the Met Office with regard to winds – it is normally reserved for snow and ice.
Storm winds have been gradually moving in from the west. The wind tomorrow is expected to be less severe but it will be cold with scattered snow showers.