Gales and snow leave 3,000 homes without power and force school closures

Gale force north-westerly winds and wet snow have been causing problems in Shetland again this morning.

More than 3,000 properties in the North Isles and North Mainland were hit by power cuts overnight and around 500 properties north of Brae are still without power.

The fault was caused by a hydro pole breaking shortly before 8am at Mangaster, cutting off Brae, Sullom, Ollaberry, North Roe, Heylor, Hillswick and Eshaness. A spokesman for Scottish and Southern Energy said engineers were currently on site and it was hoped power would be restored by 3pm. He said: “The investigation into this is on-going. If we are able to re-route the network we will do that. We apologise to our customers and thank them for their patience.”

Earlier a suspected lightning strike affected the Gremista power station, cutting off Unst, Yell, Fetlar, Mossbank, Brae, North Roe, Vidlin and Nesting around 3.15am. Power was restored by 5.30am, and the cause is still being investigated.

However Mossbank Primary School’s oil-fired central heating, a system that is controlled remotely from south, was affected by the power cuts and the school was forced to shut. Head teacher Pat Brown said fortunately most families were able to be contacted before children set off for school.

The snow closed five schools – Aith, Whiteness, Skeld, Happyhansel and Sandness – in the West Side, and North Roe and Urafirth were closed due to the power cut, but all other schools remained open.

Road traffic has suffered in the conditions, with a lorry getting stuck in the Kames and a Leask’s bus going off the road and hitting a fence in Gulberwick. Peter Leask said the mishap had happened at around 7.30am when a combination of icy patches and cross winds blew it sideways. Only the driver was on board the bus, which was going to Sandwick to pick up passengers. The driver was not hurt and there was no damage to the bus, which was pulled out later.

Meanwhile the council’s gritting service is working to full capacity with all 25 gritters out.

Flights in and out of Sumburgh were subject to delays early this morning, but by 10am all departures had got away and the airport was getting back to normal.

However Scatsta was badly affected, with no fixed wing or helicopter flights operating at all. A Bristow’s spokesman said it was going to be a “challenging day”.

Broadband services throughout Shetland were down for a couple of hours in the morning. A team from Shetland Broadband went to Bressay to investigate the problem, thought to have been caused by snow on a dish. The service was restored shortly after noon through a back-up system.


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