Most ferry services throughout the Western Isles are cancelled today as the forecast for gales in Lewis and Harris worsened again overnight (Friday October 12th).

The official UK Met Office forecast for daytime in the Highlands and Islands is: “Rather cloudy start with occasionally heavy rain pushing quickly north but sunny spells developing for most by midday. A few showers are likely this afternoon but more persistent rain likely to return to the Great Glen.  Severe southerly gales in west.  Maximum Temperature 17 °C.”

For the evening: “Any rain soon clearing this evening to leave clear spells and showers but most places become dry overnight.  Severe southerly gales in west turning more southwesterly and slowly easing.  Minimum Temperature 6 °C.”

Winds are now expected to peak during the evening with the height of the storm in Stornoway coming at 7-9pm with expected speeds of 35mph sustained and gusts up to 58mph.  With the gale being from the South, conditions are worse the further south you are in the Outer Hebrides, and highest winds start much earlier. 

XC Weather, which previously had downgraded its forecasts for the storm in Stornoway, is now predicting a higher peak speed of gusts at 66mph around 5pm with the main storm lasting from 4pm to 8pm.

Ferries from Stornoway today after the 7am sailing are cancelled.  And there are no sailings on the Berneray-Leverburgh route for the rest of the day.

On the Uig-Tarbert-Lochmaddy routes, all sailings are cancelled with a special service timetable planned for tomorrow (Saturday).

The Mallaig-Lochboisdale service is cancelled, as are all the sailings to and from Castlebay and across the Sound of Barra.

All flights between Glasgow and Barra have been cancelled for today (Friday 12 October) leaving Barra and Vatersay completely cut off.

Flights include Glasgow to Barra at 12:30pm and 2:15pm and Barra to Glasgow at 12:50pm and 2:35pm.

Logainair offered travel advice, stating: "If you are booked to travel on Friday 12th October, you can choose to re-book on an alternative flight at any time within the next seven days from today.

"There will be no change fee or difference in fare payable – if there is a seat available on an earlier or later flight, you can transfer your booking to that flight without charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

"If you wish to change flight, please check seat availability on your desired alternative travel day at by looking to see if we still have seats available on flights on your route, then give us a call on 0344 800 2855 with your booking reference handy so that we can confirm your booking on your preferred alternative flight."

On Friday, high tides are expected to affect the islands due to a storm surge and large waves associated with Storm Callum.

The greatest risk is expected on Friday evening with high tide expected to peak from 8pm onwards at Leverburgh and from 9pm in Stornoway.

Localised flooding to low-lying land and roads is likely. Spray and wave overtopping along coastal roads and sea fronts is also expected.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency will continue to monitor the situation and further updates will appear here if the situation changes.

(Additional information has been added to this article since it was first posted.)