TENS of thousands of Scottish homes were left without power yesterday after gale-force winds battered much of the country for a second day.
More than 33,000 Scottish Hydro and ScottishPower customers in the north and south of the country were affected by a power blackout as the Met Office issued weather warnings that will last until at least midday.
High winds also brought another day of disruption to Scotland’s transport networks, with weather warnings still in place for fierce gusts, snow and ice.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
The Scottish Government has warned of possible flooding this evening and into tomorrow, with Sepa and the Met Office advising that rainfall combined with melting snow could cause problems around most of the Highlands and the upland regions of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.
Scottish Hydro set up emergency food depots last night at some of the areas most affected by the storms to aid victims of the power cut, with local businesses, including McGinty’s fish and chip shop in Fortrose, delivering hot food to elderly customers.
The power company said last night it would be unable to restore power in the north of Skye, Harris and Caithness until today.
It apologised but said weather conditions were very difficult, following hurricane winds of up to 113mph in parts of the country.
Heavy snowfall and ice overnight also made some roads impassable and access to the network difficult.
Alan Broadbent, Scottish Hydro 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.
“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.”
A Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice is in force for most of the country until midday today.
Gusts of 40-50mph were felt quite widely across Scotland over the weekend with a number of train services also suspended. Some services from Inverness to the North, as well as those between Dumbarton Central and Helensburgh Central and from Glasgow to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig were not expected to resume until late afternoon today.
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne listed two dozen services facing weather-related disruption or cancellation yesterday.
Access to 999 and 101 telephone services were restricted in some areas, including North Uist and Harris, and the Ness and Uig areas of Lewis.
A number of coastguard as well as fire and police stations were being manned in the event of an emergency in these areas. A total of 11 catering stations were 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.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Our primary concern is for the welfare of those who have been left without power as a result of the severe weather this week, in particular those who have been left without electricity for over 24 hours.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS