STORM CAROLINE has swept into the UK leaving severe travel disruption, school closures and power cuts in its destructive wake.
A mixture of sleet and snow showers worked their way across the whole of Britain, with the potential for blizzard conditions in northern areas.
Emergency services are expecting to tackle life-threatening situations as conditions worsen, particularly in the most exposed parts of Scotland where gusts of up to 90mph are expected.
The Met Office has warned of flying debris that could lead to injuries or danger to life while damage to property is also possible.
The wintry showers will become more widespread over the next 24 hours, with forecasters also issuing a yellow severe weather warning for snow and ice tomorrow.
Flights and ferry services have been cancelled while dozens of schools are closed across the north of Scotland.
Rail passengers have also faced disruption, with trains cancelled after a trampoline blew onto the line in East Renfrewshire and services suspended elsewhere.
About 2,000 Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks customers in the Western Isles and about 270 in Aberdeenshire were left without power but have since been reconnected.
A 73mph gust was recorded at Stornoway Airport while a 69mph gust was measured at Altnaharra in Sutherland and 68mph in South Uist on Thursday morning, the Met Office said.
The strong wind warning is valid from 6am until 11.55pm on Thursday, with an amber warning for northern Scotland.
A yellow be-aware warning is in force for the southern half of Scotland and parts of the north of Northern Ireland between 6am and 6pm as well.
All schools and nurseries in Lewis, Harris and Uist in the Western Isles are closed to pupils on Thursday as a precaution while 31 primary schools, five secondary schools and 19 nurseries in the Highland Council area and two schools in Aberdeenshire are shut.
Train services have been suspended between Aberdeen and Inverness, Inverness and Wick, Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh as well some Glasgow Queen Street routes to the west coast.
Rail passengers faced disruption after a trampoline blew onto the line in East Renfrewshire.
Train services between Glasgow Central and Neilston were cancelled or delayed while staff removed the obstacle.
Some flights in the western isles have been cancelled.
Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services between Tarbert and Lochranza, Oban and Tiree via Coll and Ullapool and Stornoway have been cancelled for the rest of the day while many other routes are facing disruption.
The Forth Road Bridge and Tay Road Bridge are closed to double-decker buses while the Skye and Kessock bridges are closed to high-sided vehicles.
A North Sea platform shut down production due to safety fears over weather conditions caused by Storm Caroline.
CNR International said it would remove all of the 159 staff on Ninian South, about 240 miles from Aberdeen, from the structure as a precaution.