Storm – bus overturns and petrol pumps damaged

Update 6pm – More than 2,000 customers are still without power according to the latest statement issued by Scottish Hydro.

Engineers have struggled to make repairs in Shetland and across the north of Scotland and the Western Isles with storm force winds continuing and wintry weather making life more difficult.

In a statement issued at 5pm the power firm said in Shetland “sustained strong winds of more than 100mph made it impossible for engineers to work safely”. As a result 2,012 customers are still without power. Across the country 29,000 customers face the night in darkness because of the storm damage.

SHEPD director of engineering Alan Broadbent again apologised adding, “we are doing all we possibly can during extremely treacherous, challenging and severe weather conditions.”

Meanwhile the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is reminding members of the public to take extra care if using candles during the power cuts being caused by winter storms.

SFRS Group Commander Phil Green said: “We know that people often use candles in the home, particularly during power cuts and we would like to remind people to be careful.

“If you are using of candles try not to expose yourself to any unnecessary risk of fire. Keep candles on hard flat surfaces and away from any flammable materials such as curtains and upholstery and never leave candles burning if you leave the room, house or go to bed.

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Update 3.15pm – Inter-island ferries are running this afternoon, with the Whalsay ferry trying a run from Symbister at 2.45pm other ferries are sailing this afternoon, though there are warnings of restricted services.

Andrew Morrison of Andrew’s Adventures said a coach had gone off the road at 6am this morning, south of the Sand Water junction. There were no passengers and the driver was ok, said Mr Morrison. The company was waiting for the coach to be recovered but because of high winds they had been unable to do so.

Meanwhile the fire service were called to Sound Service Station where the petrol pumps had been damaged by the howling winds.

The fire service received a call at about 8.45am to secure the pumps. One was already on the ground and the other was secured using scaffolding and ropes.

There have also been several reports of roofs being damaged by the storm, with one woman in Mossbank being assisted by the fire service after she had her window blown in.

The weather has also halted transport on ferries, planes and buses, with bus operator Leasks saying a review would be held at 4pm with the hope to get buses running again this afternoon.

Both NorthLink passenger ferry sailings between Aberdeen and Lerwick have been cancelled. Both of Sunday night’s scheduled sailings are under review, with an update expected tomorrow.

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Update 11.52am – Police are advising that people should stay at home unless travel is “absolutely necessary” because of the weather.

And anyone who does venture out is urged to drive with “extreme caution”.

Temporary chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch said: “As a result of the overnight and ongoing severe weather conditions throughout Shetland reports are being received of obstacles and debris on the public roadway.

“Shetland Islands Council is responding to these reports to clear the roadways as quickly as possible. Motorists are urged to drive with extreme caution particularly on coastal road where debris can be blown up from the sea without warning.

“During this period the public are advised to only travel if absolutely necessary.”

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Almost 2,000 customers have been without power across Shetland, according to energy company Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution.

They are among 32,000 across Scotland who have suffered outages due to the storms which have battered the country over the last two days.

Alan Broadbent, director of engineering, explained some of the challenges now facing technical staff: “Our electricity network was battered continuously by hurricane winds for eight hours on Thursday night and during much of Friday. This has weakened it in places, which caused more power cuts overnight.

“I know an apology may not be much comfort for our customers who have been without power, but I would like to reassure them that we are doing all we possibly can during extremely treacherous, challenging and severe weather conditions.”

SHEPD also boosted the number of engineers across the country on top of the thousand technical and support staff, 200 more were drafted in yesterday afternoon from SHEPD’s sister company in England, and also from other electricity network operators around the UK. Extra staff have been flown to Shetland to deal with the consequences of the storm.

In a statement SHEPD said 1954 customers in Shetland were without power.

While Shetland missed the worst of the weather on Friday guts of close to 100mph have been reported since the winds reached storm force overnight. The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for Shetland.

On its website the Met Office said: “Another very vigorous depression is likely to run quickly eastwards, passing to the north of Scotland on Saturday. Gusts of 80-90mph are likely over Shetland, but with an increased likelihood now that some parts of the islands may see gusts near or exceeding 100mph, hence the update to raise the likelihood of disruption, resulting in an amber warning.

“The public should be aware of the likelihood of disruption to both transport and power supplies, as well as the risk of some structural damage. Large waves may lead to dangerous conditions along some coasts.

“The strongest winds should ease from the west around midday.”

• More to follow.

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The 32,000 customers without power are in the following areas:

Buchan                                               675 customers

Rural parts of Dingwall                     3608 customers

Rural parts of Dunoon                       657 customers

Elgin/Huntly                                        1070 customers

Rural parts of Fort William               539 customers

Inverness-shire                                  7569 customers

Rural parts of Oban                           1102 customers

Rural parts of Perth                           1736 customers

Shetland                                             1954 customers

Skye                                                   4664 customers

Western Isles                                     4656 customers

Rural parts of Wick                           4112 customers



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