Yellow ‘be aware’ warnings for high wind have been put in place across the whole of Scotland from today until Saturday, but the second named storm of the season is set to sweep in from noon on Friday and continue into Saturday.
Parts of the north and north-west will be hardest hit by Barbara, with widespread gusts of 80mph to 90mph predicted.
Forecasters have warned of possible disruption to transport, damage to property and power cuts.
They say bridges, ferry services and flights are likely to be affected by the high winds, so travellers are being advised to avoid unnecessary journeys during the peak of the storm.
The danger level has been raised to amber in certain areas from noon on Friday to 6am on Saturday.
Nicky Maxey, a spokeswoman for the Met Office, said: “In that amber area we’re expecting to see gusts of 80mph quite widely, with isolated gusts of 90mph.
“The worst of those gusts are likely to be later on Friday and into Saturday, that overnight period, in parts of western and northern Scotland.
“Within the yellow warning area we’re looking winds of 60mph to 70mph, with isolated gusts of 80mph.
“There is the potential that these gusts could cause structural damage and bring down power cables, so we may find interruption to electricity supplies.
“We could see restrictions on bridges, disruption to ferries and it may impact on flights.
“It’s a period when lots of people are planning to travel for Christmas festivities, so certainly they should check with providers before setting off and expect adverse conditions.”
The Met Office said the storm comes as a deep depression moves north-eastwards across the Atlantic, passing close to the north-west of Scotland on Friday evening and overnight into Saturday.
Storm Barbara will have blown away by Christmas Day, but unsettled conditions are expected to continue.
However, early indications suggest there will be a calmer picture as we head through next week towards Hogmanay and New Year.