WORSHIPPERS are being advised to attend “virtual’ services” on Christmas Day rather than put themselves at risk by going out to church during severe storms which are expected to sweep in.

Senior Kirk officials are suggesting that congregations should go online instead to feel part of the festival.

It comes amid fears that a second belt of wild and windy weather is due to batter much of the country on December 25.

Loading article content

Read more: Former top churchman removed from university’s ‘wall of fame’

Forecasters have confirmed that after a brief lull on Christmas Eve, winds from another deep depression will make landfall at about 9am on Christmas morning and last the entire day. The forecast has led senior church officials to warn about the safety of parishioners due to attend services.

They are expecting their largest online audience for services being streamed live.Convener of the church’s ministries, the Rev Neil Glover, minister at Flemington Hallside Parish Church in Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, said: “If for any reason people are unable to attend, many of our churches now make their services available online.

“So there will still be an opportunity to feel part of a church congregation at this special time of year.

“It could even be a great chance for the less ‘tech-minded’ members of the family to ask their loved ones to help find an online service for them on their phone or tablet and share it together.”

Power companies have placed engineers on standby to reconnect supplies if lines come down.

Read more: Former top churchman removed from university’s ‘wall of fame’

Winds will generally gust to 50 or 60mph in the south and Central Belt, 60mph to 70mph in the north of Scotland with winds even predicted to exceed 80mph in the far north and Northern Isles. The Met Office says it will inevitably lead to significant travel difficulties for people visiting friends and family on the big day.

The Met Office December 25 warning states: “Be aware of the potential for disruption to holiday travel plans.

“Other impacts may include disruption to power supplies, the occurrence so soon after Storm Barbara is unlikely to help in this respect, large waves affecting coastal areas, while heavy rain in the West Highlands combined with snowmelt may lead to rising river levels.”

Met Office spokeswoman Emma Sharples said: “The winds on Christmas Day may not be as bad as Storm Barbara but it is difficult to know what the cumulative effect will be.

Read more: Former top churchman removed from university’s ‘wall of fame’

“People should think seriously about their travel plans on Christmas Day. We have a gap in the bad weather on Saturday, with Barbara exiting before the wind arrives again on Christmas morning.”