Thousands remain without power after storms


SHEPD technical staff at Balmaha near Loch Lomond

Thousands of homes remain without power following the storms that have been battering Scotland.

A total of 32,000 Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) customers in the north and 1,500 supplied by Scottish Power further south of the country are affected.

SSE said engineers worked through the night to try to restore power to homes.

Heavy snowfalls and ice overnight have made some roads impassable and access to the network difficult.

Alan Broadbent, SSE’s director of engineering said: “Our electricity network was battered continuously by hurricane winds for eight hours on Thursday night and during much of Friday.

“This has weakened it in places, which caused more power cuts overnight.

Gavin Steel, Scottish and Southern Energy: ”We would like to apologise to customers who have been without power overnight”

“I know an apology may not be much comfort for our customers who have been without power, but I would like to reassure them that we are doing all we possibly can during extremely treacherous, challenging and severe weather conditions.”

By lunchtime on Saturday, engineers from SSE-owned Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution had restored supplies to 73,000 customers, following hurricane winds of up to 113mph in places.

Orkney and Shetland were warned they could experience gusts of up to 100mph (160km/h). A gust of 101mph was later recorded in Shetland.

A Met Office yellow “be aware” warning for wind is in force for the Highlands and Northern and Western Isles until 18:00 on Saturday.

Another yellow warning for snow and ice is in force for most of the country until midday on Sunday.

The warning comes after hurricane-force gusts left tens of thousands of homes without power across Scotland on Friday.

Robert Pigott reports: ”The ferocious onslaught brought down power lines”

The bad weather has toppled power lines and uprooted trees and on Friday caused the suspension of all ScotRail trains, although some limited services later resumed.

The train operator reported more than a dozen route issues on Saturday, particularly on northern and coastal services.

A number of train services have been suspended.

Waves crash against the sea wall on the Ayrshire coast Waves crash against the sea wall on the Ayrshire coast

Some services from Inverness to the North, and Kyle, as well as those between Dumbarton Central and Helensburgh Central and from Glasgow to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig will not resume until late on Sunday afternoon.

Full updates are available on the ScotRail website.

National Rail said trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Carstairs would divert and not call at Motherwell.

There are also warnings on Scotland’s road bridges and some ferry services have been cancelled.

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has listed about two dozen services facing weather-related disruption or cancellation.

Numerous flood alerts and warnings remain in place for much of Scotland.

Warnings are alerts are also in place in England and Wales.

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In England, two men were reported lost at sea after getting into trouble in the water off the coast of Brighton in “severe weather” in the early hours.

Strong winds also caused severe problems on roads in Yorkshire and the north-east of England as a number of lorries were blown over, blocking carriageways.

Tree on road at Dalry, Ayrshire
A tree narrowly missed several parked vehicles in Dalry, Ayrshire
network rail engineersEngineers are working to restore rail services and electricity supplies

SSE had mobilised 1,000 technical and support staff ahead of Friday’s storm, with engineers working in “extremely challenging and potentially dangerous conditions” to reconnect electricity.

The company said about 1,200 engineers and support staff would be deployed on Saturday.

Eleven catering stations have been set up where people can get a hot meal.

Rural areas were the worst hit, especially around Dingwall and in Inverness-shire, the Western Isles and Skye.

Other areas affected included parts of Aberdeenshire and rural areas around Wick, Oban and Fort William, as well as Buchan, Dunblane, Dunoon, Elgin and Huntly.

Scottish Power Energy Networks said it had managed to reconnect 20,000 homes, with a further 800 still affected by “pockets of faults mainly across the central belt, from Ayrshire to Lanarkshire and across to the Lothians”.

On Friday, BBC Weather said gusts reached 113mph in Stornoway, 110mph at Loch Glascarnoch, and 97mph at Altnaharra. Speeds of 61mph have been recorded overnight at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.

A gust of 140mph was recorded at the summit of Cairngorm and the BBC Winterwatch studio, in a cabin on the Mar Lodge Estate in the Cairngorms, was destroyed by the winds.

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