STORM Ciara has arrived in Somerset and it's very blustery out there this morning and it's probably best not to go out unless you really have to.

Strong winds are forecast to last throughout most of the day.

There's traffic disruption, with train and plane cancellations being advertised.

Highways England is warning to drivers to take care and be prepared for strong gales that have the potential to disrupt journeys across the region.

The Met Office has issued amber warnings for the South West up until 9pm today (Sunday).

Road users, particularly drivers of high-sided HGVs, caravans and motorcycles, are advised to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys and pay particular attention to exposed locations such as coastal and high lying areas and bridges which could be affected by the high winds.

Gusts of 60 to 70mph are likely across many inland areas and around 80mph in exposed coastal areas. A spell of heavy rain will affect many regions for a time, making driving conditions particularly poor.

Highways England’s head of road safety, Richard Leonard, said: “We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve.

"If you do intend to travel, then plan your journey and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey.

“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down.

“Drivers of other vehicles should be aware of sudden gusts of wind which can affect handling and braking, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space.

"In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes.”

People making journeys should drive with extra care, especially at exposed sections of the motorway network. Unladen curtain-sided vehicles are particularly vulnerable to windy conditions on high ground.

Mr Leonard added: “Curtains on empty high-sided vehicles can act as sails when closed, and when high winds arise, we advise HGV drivers to open their curtain-sided vehicles if they are empty."

A Freight Transport Association advisory states: “When driving an empty curtain-sided vehicle, tie both curtain sides at one end of the vehicle to reduce the effect of side winds”.

HGV drivers are advised by the DVSA to check load security as part of their daily walkaround check. Further details of the walk around check can be found on GOV.UK.

Road users are being advised to follow messages on any overhead signs and listen to radio updates.

Meanwhile Western Power Distribution has issued the following statement this morning: "We are currently experiencing gale to severe gale force winds across all WPD regions.

"As predicated Storm Ciara is still forecast to remain active throughout today and into Monday morning.

"We are prepared, the precautionary arrangements we have had in place since Friday with additional staff on standby and our call centres ramped up, will remain until we are certain the weather front has passed.

"Your safety is important to us, anyone spotting a damaged power line is urged to treat these as live cables, keep your distance and report it to our emergency line.

"For those most vulnerable customers, we can also provide additional support during a power cut.

"If you need to report a problem, please use the free 105 nationwide emergency telephone number."

Have you been affected by Storm Ciara - let us know and send us your photos.