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    Hurricane-Force Winds Batter UK; Another Major Storm Looming

    By Story by Steve Travis, Meteorologist
    December 12, 2011, 5:01:16 AM EST

    Hurricane gusts blasted Scotland on Thursday as a fearsome wintry storm motored through the United Kingdom.

    A red alert, the highest warning given by the U.K. Met Office, was issued for much of central and southern Scotland, an area spanning Glasgow and Edinburgh. U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported that it was "thought to be the first time" such a warning was issued for a high wind event.

    Police in some districts of Scotland advised against all travel, owing to the severe wind, the BBC said. Hundreds of schools were shut, and a number of roads and bridges were closed.

    The windstorm also reached southward into England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    During the worst of the storm, wind speeds of 105 mph were recorded at Tulloch Bridge in Inverness, off northern Scotland, data accessed by AccuWeather.com showed. Meanwhile, gusts topped out a powerful 165 mph on Cairngorm, a mountain in central Scotland, according to The Guardian.

    As winds gusted between 70 and 80 mph in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, transportation restrictions were hitting commuters. Railway speed limits led to altered train schedules.

    Two important bridges, the Forth Road and the Erskine, were closed. An 84-mph gust was registered on the Forth Road Bridge, the BBC said.

    Greater London and other parts of southern U.K., while wind-swept, were not subjected to the extremes of weather seen in the north.

    Although some gusty winds continued on Friday, the worst of the storm had moved into Scandinavia, where the forecast calls for a mix of rain and snow at the coast, including Oslo, the capital of Norway, with locally heavy snow farther inland.

    High winds and potential coastal flooding are slated for areas along and near shores from Denmark to Netherlands.

    The dry reprieve will not last for much of the U.K. as another major storm approaches western Europe early next week.

    The strong low pressure system is forecast to bring rain to southern England and western France, including Paris. Farther north, snow will accompany the storm across Scotland, including Edinburgh, and northern England.

    Being an unusually strong storm, the system will rough up seas in the north Atlantic. Wave swells of over 40 feet are forecast off the coast of western Ireland early Tuesday morning.

    The storm also has the potential to bring another round of high wind speeds that could be similar to the recent storm in some areas.

    This storm will be slow to depart leading to unsettled weather and gusty winds through at least Wednesday, with the worst of the storm expected to occur Monday night into early Tuesday when a cold front pushes through the United Kingdom.

    Meteorologists Eric Leister and Jim Andrews contributed to this story.

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