Gale-force winds knock out power to 10,000 homes

Scotland's coastal towns are braced for high winds. Picture: Jane Barlow
Scotland's coastal towns are braced for high winds. Picture: Jane Barlow
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AN estimated 10,000 homes and properties across the West of Scotland and the Western Isles were left without electricity this morning as gale force winds swept across the area, disrupting power supplies.

The power cuts also hit mobile and landline telephone services in parts of the Hebrides where the emergency and health services urged local residents to check on vulnerable neighbours and family members to check that they did not require medical assistance.The service was restored shortly before noon.

And the torrential rain which hit many parts of the country led to renewed flood warnings across Scotland with residents in the twin costal Moray villages of Kingston and Garmouth being alerted to the possibility of flooding later today due to a combination of high tides and low atmospheric pressure. A flood warning has been issued for the Spey Viaduct to Spey Bay.

The B9015 Kingston to Garmouth in Moray was closed due to flooding shortly before mid-day

A spokesman for Moray Council said: “The situation is being closely monitored by Moray Council who will have response crews on site with sandbags in case they are needed. High tide is due at approximately 1pm.

“There is a risk of flooding due to the high tide coinciding with an area of low pressure and we will have people on hand with sandbags which will be deployed if necessary.”

A spokesman for Scottish and Southern Energy said that overnight some 10,000 customers across the energy giant’s network had been left without power as a result of damage caused by the gale force winds. The areasworst affected are Fort William, Oban, and other parts of the Highlands and the Western Isles.

She said: “We have already restored power to more than half of the customers and progress is continuing this morning. We are anticipating restoring the majority of customers by this afternoon.

“Extra engineers have been drafted in and vulnerable customers are being contacted so we can offer assistance and re assurance.”

A spokesman for Scottish Power said the company was working to restore power to some 500 customers in the Dumfries area.

90mph winds

The highest overnight wind speed recorded of 90mph was recorded on South Uist. A spokesman for the Highlands and Islands Local Resilience Partnership said: “There is a loss of mobile and landline telephone services in areas of North Uist in the Western Isles as a result of the overnight spell of bad weather.

“BT are currently working to restore the loss of telephone services, which is affecting the Bayhead, Berneray and Manish areas of North Uist in the Western Isles. Police Scotland will have extra officers patrolling the highlighted areas until the service is restored.”

Western Isles Council confirmed that Laxdale, Leverburgh and Tolstaschools had been closed due to power failures.

A spokeswomen,an for NHS Western Isles said: “Health services in the Western Isles are currently running as normal. However, if patients are unable to attend a scheduled appointment due to the bad weather (or for any other reason) we would ask that they contact us as soon as possible to inform us, so that the appointment can be quickly rescheduled. NHS Western Isles would also urge the public to look in on vulnerable neighbours or relatives and to phone NHS24 if they have any health concerns.”

In Peterhead, a fisherman suffered minor injuries after being blown into the harbour while crossing gangplank into his boat. He was plucked to safety by crewmates.

Traffic Scotland has warned of snow showers hitting many parts of Scotland as the day progresses with an increased risk of icy stretches as road temperatures fall after dark.

A spokesman said: “These showers will lead to some accumulations of snow. By day these should be mainly confined to ground above 200 metresalthough some temporary slushy falls are possible to lower levels in heavier showers. On Thursday evening into early Friday, slight accumulations of 1-2 cm are possible locally with up to 5 cm above 200 metres. .Drivers should be aware of the possibility of difficult driving conditions and minor disruption to travel.

The Tay road bridge was closed to double decker buses and drivers were urged to use caution crossing the Forth road bridge and to drive below 40mph due the high winds affecting driving conditions.

Ferry incident

Three passengers on a Northern Isles ferry were injured and cars damaged last night as the Serco NorthLink ferry Hrossey was hit by a heavy swell and rough seas.They were injured as the Aberdeen bound ferry from Shetland was approaching Orkney.

A NorthLink Ferries spokesman said: “As a result of adverse weather conditions last night three passengers on the Aberdeen-bound Hrossey were injured, two of whom were attended to in Kirkwall.

“A number of passenger vehicles were also damaged and owners have been informed. The incident happened on passing Auskerry Lighthouse coming into Shapinsay Sound at approximately 11pm following particularly rough seas and heavy swell.”