Scotland weather: New storm - even worse than Arwen - set to hit

The strongest winds of the winter so far – even fiercer than Storm Arwen – could cause power cuts in the north of the country later this weekend.

Huge waves crash against the lighthouse in Seaham Harbour, County Durham, in the tail end of Storm Arwen

Hurricane-force gusts in excess of 90mph will create a ‘danger to life’ when they make landfall across the Highlands and Western Isles tomorrow night and on Monday morning in Orkney and Shetland.

Huge waves will batter sea fronts and tiles could be stripped from roofs and even inland, wind speeds of 80-85mph can be expected.

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If this extreme weather event was taking place over an area of high population during the day, it would almost certainly become the third named storm of the winter, Storm Corrie.

A deep area of low pressure has been building for some time in the Atlantic but it was thought to be heading to Iceland. More recent models, however, predict it will deliver a ‘glancing blow’ to the far north west of the country.

The first yellow warning period begins at 9pm tomorrow for Highland, the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute and lasts until 6am on Monday. The Met Office says there is the potential for wind gusts of 80-85mph and up to 90mph in a few areas of the Western Isles.

Injuries and a ‘danger to life’ are possible from flying debris and high waves. Power cuts may occur as infrastructure is brought down in the tempest. Road, air and ferry services are likely to face disruption. Heavy rain could accompany the storm.

At midnight tomorrow the winds reach the Northern Isles and the second yellow warning period comes into force, lasting until noon on Monday. Similar dangers exist here, with winds again expected to exceed 90mph, which is stronger than hurricane force.

On November 26, Scotland was hit by winds gusting close to 90mph during Storm Arwen. Several hundred thousand customers lost power and, in Aberdeenshire, 35-year-old David Lapage was killed when his truck was crushed by a falling tree on the B977 Dyce to Hatton of Fintray road.

Just this week, that was followed by Storm Barra, which also caused damage and robbed some homes of power.

Yesterday, power company SSEN said it had decided to voluntarily increase the amount of compensation due to customers who were cut off for days under Arwen.

The firm said it recognised the ‘exceptional impact on customers’ and boosted the amount it has to pay by law by 20 per cent. Those cut off the longest will receive an extra £560 and payments will hit customers’ bank accounts before Christmas.

SSEN Managing Director, Chris Burchell, said: “We recognise this is an exceptional situation and are making a fair and proportionate goodwill increase to the standard compensation available for customers, supporting those most affected.

“This 20 per cent enhancement will be paid automatically and combined with lifting the payment cap, for those last to be reconnected, will result in an additional payment of £560.”

Drivers and pedestrians were caught out yesterday morning when black ice formed across many surfaces before dawn. At 5am, the Met Office flashed an ice warning for the western half of the country, predicting wet roads and pavements would turn icy under clear skies.