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Weather warning given to commuters

Commuters are being urged to prepare for more disruption as torrential rain and high winds are expected across much of Scotland.

The worst of the weather was due to arrive during the morning rush hour and the Met Office issued amber "be prepared" warnings for Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway, Stirling, Perth and the southern Highlands.

The heaviest rain is expected to fall in areas that were hit by flooding earlier this week.

More than 100 residents were evacuated from their homes and transport links were cut off in the village of Comrie, Perthshire, after the Water of Ruchill burst its banks.

Properties were also flooded in Dunblane, Aberfoyle, Callander and Dumfries and Galloway. Councils have been distributing sandbags and pumping water from saturated areas during the week to avoid further problems.

The Met Office said southerly galeforce winds will accompany the rain, with gusts of up to 60mph possible in some areas.

Transport minister Keith Brown said: "We have been in regular contact with the Met Office, police, operating companies, the rail industry and other key responders this week.

"Our Multi Agency Response Team will be fully operational to monitor the network and provide assistance.

"I would urge the travelling public and motorists to take extra care in areas that experience testing conditions.

"It looks like a testing rush hour for many people tomorrow and motorists will need to be extra cautious when travelling in heavy downpours and allow extra time for braking distances.

"While all of the operating companies and other key agencies involved are working hard to keep Scotland moving and preparations are in place, it's important the travelling public are prepared."

Met Office chief forecaster Bob Wilderspin said: "A particularly squally day is expected on Thursday as strong to gale force winds combined with heavy rain move across Scotland during the day.

"With winds gusting around 60mph in places and 20 to 50mm of rain falling in a short period of time we urge everyone to keep up to date with forecasts and warnings, and be prepared for what the weather will bring."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has 12 flood alerts in place for Thursday with more expected to be issued throughout the day.

Sepa's Marc Becker said: "Areas likely to be worst affected are those which experienced flooding earlier in the week.

"In particular, Dumfries and Galloway, Western Tayside, Argyll and Central will be susceptible to further river flooding.

"If rain clears the east coast of Scotland by tomorrow evening, conditions should then improve.

"At present, there are twelve flood alerts in place, covering Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway, Central, Dundee and Angus, Edinburgh and Lothians, Fife, Scottish Borders, Skye and Lochaber, West Central Scotland, Western Isles and Tayside, but we are expecting further alerts to be issued over the next 24 hours.

"To assist with operational responses, Sepa is providing Scotland's emergency services and other responders with regular updates on forecast river and coastal flooding and we continue to monitor the situation.

"Members of the public in areas which could be affected are encouraged to remain vigilant and mindful of the conditions in their locality, especially if travelling."

Real-time journey information can be found at www.trafficscotland.org, or on twitter @trafficscotland.

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