25th May 2018
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Hydro working to restore power after electrical storm

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Power has still to be restored to about 180 homes and businesses across Shetland following yesterday evening’s spectacular thunder and lightning storm with flash floods.

Scottish Hydro said this afternoon it expected the last reconnections to be completed by early evening but additional faults were being discovered when faulty lines are being fixed.

Around 1,000 customers lost their electricity during the storm which passed over between about 5pm and 7.30pm. Crews from Orkney and Aberdeen have been helping tackle the problems.

BT phone lines were also badly hit by what the company classed as a “severe” electrical storm. Broadband connections were also knocked out.

The damage was worst on the West Side and BT said it could take several days to identify and repair all the faults.

A spokesman said: “Faults have been reported in Gott, Weisdale, Sandness, Bixter and Walls and every available engineer is working to restore service as soon as possible.

“However, lightning damage is such that it can be several days before it manifests itself and the equipment fails. Lightning can also cause multiple faults on an individual line, so clearing the damage can be a process of elimination and is painstaking work.”

During the flash floods that accompanied the storm there were some reports of problems. In Aith the Wirlie Burn became hugely swollen by flood water, bursting over the top of a brig in the middle of the village. At its worst the main road was impassable to all but heavy-duty vehicles like tractors until the water receded.

Roads elsewhere were under water, including Scalloway’s Main Street for the second time in nine days.

The police put out a warning after the thunderstorm advising motorists to drive with “extreme caution” and to beware of aquaplaning. Despite the downpour there were no reports of road closures and the water quickly abated.

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