Storm Henry: Power outages and flooding across Scotland

FURTHER flooding and travel disruption is threatened for parts of Scotland later this week as the country recovers from being battered by two storms in four days.
Winds of up to 90mph have been recorded in South Uist. Picture: PAWinds of up to 90mph have been recorded in South Uist. Picture: PA
Winds of up to 90mph have been recorded in South Uist. Picture: PA

Storm Henry left 12,000 homes and businesses across northern Scotland without electricity, with winds of up to 100mph around pop-ulated areas causing widespread transport problems yesterday.

Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution said 1,500 of its customers remained cut off yesterday, while 10,500 had been reconnected.

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A total of 15,000 people – including 1,000 ScottishPower customers – were cut off during Storm Gertrude on Friday, which saw gusts up to 105mph.

A Scottish Hydro spokesman said: “We would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding over the past few days, as two storms, Gertrude and Henry, swept across our operating area, disrupting power supplies.”

The Met Office warned of possible flooding and travel problems from heavy rain on Friday across south-west Scotland. It said there were signs that winds may pick up again.

A yellow – “be aware” – warning for the areas stated: “Given recent significant rainfall, the area is more sensitive, so fairly modest rainfall amounts could lead to further localised flooding.”

There were 15 flood warnings in force last night for the Highlands, Moray and Perthshire and a yellow alert for ice is in force across Scotland until 10am today.

Strong winds yesterday continued to disrupt travel, with restrictions on several bridges.

The Tay Road Bridge was open to cars and single decker buses only for several hours.The southbound carriageway was due to be closed at midnight for about 30 minutes for repairs to lighting columns damaged by winds which reached 100.2mph on Monday night.

Winds of 90mph were recorded in South Uist, with gusts of 60mph in Glasgow.

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The Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles, cars with trailers, caravans and motorcycles.

A prankster changed the crossing’s Wikipedia entry to “often closed”.

The A82 – the main west coast route north of Glasgow – was closed to high-sided vehicles at Ballachulish and between Bridge of Orchy and Tyndrum.

The A726 dual carriageway in East Kilbride was closed because of an unsafe building.

Staff at Scotland’s largest hospital were called to help patients struggling to reach the main entrance after alighting from buses in the strong winds. The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow confirmed yesterday that one patient had to be treated for injuries suffered when they were blown into the bus stop at the entrance.

One eyewitness said: “A poor man had been smashed against the bus stop outside the hospital and was lying in a pool of blood and glass, unconscious. People were being blown around like paper dolls.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which runs the hospital, said: “A number of elderly people and people with restricted mobility have needed support in the stormy weather conditions.

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“Unfortunately on Friday, when gale force winds hit right across Scotland, one person outside the hospital was blown into the bus stop. The patient sustained some injuries which were treated in hospital.

“We can confirm that during the peak of storm Gertrude and Henry we had staff to help assist any frail or elderly patients get safely into the hospital after alighting from the buses.”

Rail passengers suffered prolonged disruption yesterday following several precautionary line closures on Monday. The Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh line and part of the Glasgow-Mallaig route remained shut until engineers had checked them for debris blown on to tracks.

Obstacles removed included trampolines, garden sheds, trees and part of a fibreglass boat near Helensburgh.

A bridge on the Aberdeen-Inverness line near Elgin was checked for damage from the swollen River Spey while damage to overhead power lines on the Clyde coast caused problems between Irvine and Ayr.

CalMac cancelled all sailings today on four of its west coast routes – to Coll and Tiree, the Small Isles, between Mallaig and South Uist, and Tarbert and Lochranza on Arran.

The winds were strong enough for waterfalls on Mull to be blown back uphill and 14m-high waves crashed along parts of the west coast.

The severe weather created difficulties for recovery teams attending blown-over vehicles, routes blocked by trees and buildings made unsafe by the extreme winds.

Henry is the eighth storm to be named by the Met Office to raise awareness of the impact of severe weather, after the new system started in November with Storm Abigail.