22nd September 2018
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Weather continues to bite but not so much disruption this time round

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Shetland looks set to have a white Christmas with continued snow showers and freezing temperatures remaining a feature of the weather this week.

Most services seemed to have coped better with the cold than in previous weeks. The majority of schools remained open all week except on Tuesday when Whalsay and Bressay were closed.

The airport was also open as normal and despite some delays, mainly due to problems elsewhere, ran to schedule.

Fair Isle, however, has been left without flights for around two weeks due to heavy snow at Tingwall airport.

In the past 19 days islanders have had one flight, which resident Lise Sinclair said had left them without a “lifeline service” and meant Fair Isle’s secondary schoolchildren had to take the boat home for Christ-mas.

SIC head of transport Michael Craigie said the disruptions were caused by problems at the airstrips and that snow clearing equipment and gritters had now been stationed at Tingwall, although this was a recent development.

Heavy snow and blizzards at the weekend caused disruptions and accidents, with seven road accidents reported.

Five of these occurred on Sunday, with one two-car accident on the A970 near Fladdabister requiring a driver to be cut from the car. All passengers were taken to hospital for check-ups though no-one was seriously injured.

Chief inspector David Bushell said anyone planning on making a journey should check that they and their vehicles were suitably pre­pared and take blankets, hot drinks, water and a mobile phone with them.

He said drivers should also take special care to brake in good distance and be mindful of icy conditions.

Mr Bushell said Shetland police were taking part in a national drink-driving campaign and extra patrols would be carried out over the festive period targeting drink-drivers. Drivers were encouraged to enjoy the festivities safely.

The police have also asked people to be mindful of those who may be struggling with the weather and to check on any neighbours who may be vulnerable and needing extra help.

With weather disrupting travel, in Unst on Saturday the Baltasound coastguard rescue team helped a BT engineer get to an aerial at Saxa Vord which had been experiencing technical problems.

While there the Baltasound team monitored the VHF radio system to alert any distress calls to the team in Lerwick.

As well as snow, lightning caused problems across the isles on Saturday when strikes to cables and a pole mounted circuit breaker caused disruptions to electricity supplies.

At around 2.20pm 320 properties in Mossbank were left without power, though the majority were back on after 20 minutes and the rest had their supplies restored by 4.50pm.

There were disruptions to around 4,000 homes across the North Mainland, Whalsay and Fetlar, when a pole-mounted circuit breaker was hit by lightning just before 8pm. Scottish and Southern Energy Engineers had restored the power supply by 10pm.

NorthLink services were affected by strong winds on Sunday with the northbound Hjaltland service leaving Aberdeen two hours late. The vessel did, however, arrive at Lerwick on time at 7.30am on Monday and was on time for the rest of the week.

Freezing temperatures are set to continue across the weekend. Today should be mainly dry and sunny with some showers, with tem-peratures of -1°C.

The weekend will remain cold, with a low of -7°C predicted on Christmas night. Temperatures are set to rise on Boxing Day, however, with strong winds and possible rain continuing into Monday.

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About Adam Civico

The Shetland Times editor since October 2012. Born and bred in South Yorkshire, before moving to Shetland I was assistant editor at the Barnsley Chronicle, where my journalism career began. When not editing The Shetland Times I can be found walking or (occasionally) running, enjoying good food, or trying to find the latest Sheffield Wednesday result. Contact me with your news and views about Shetland – a.civico@shetlandtimes.co.uk, on Twitter @adamcivico or telephone 01595 746715.

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