Gales cause leaks at hospital and further travel disruption
Southerly and southeasterly gales with gusts reaching storm and near hurricane force continue to cause disruption.
An amber flood alert was issued by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) for the whole of Shetland this morning as storm Frank, which started last night, battered the isles with wind and heavy rain.
Sepa warned that exposed coastal areas were most at risk due to a large surge combining with strong southerly winds at times of high water, and reminded the public it was their responsibility to protect themselves and their property.
The combination of gales and heavy rain saw some water ingress at the Gilbert Bain Hospital today. Areas affected were the main hospital corridor, Ronas Ward and Ward 3.
Director of nursing Kathleen Carolan said: “All patient services, are running as usual and we have contingency plans in place if the water damage becomes more extensive.
“The estates team are currently working on identifying where the water is entering the building and undertaking remedial repairs.”
Meanwhile, most of Unst suffered power cuts when an overhead line was blown down at 3am today.
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) reported that 543 customers had lost power, but it was expected to be restored by midday. The incident happened at exactly the time the Lerwick Observatory reported the highest gust of 58 knots, or 66mph – violent storm Force 11.
The winds also caused power cuts in various parts of Shetland earlier in the week, and SSE sent up additional engineers with extra equipment to help deal with incidents around the isles. According to SSE, 32 customers in Unst lost power at 9pm on Monday, but were restored by 9.40am yesterday.
Another 27 customers were cut off just before 11pm on Monday due to a damaged pole, but got power back by 2pm.
In Walls 19 customers lost power just after midnight on Tuesday, but it was restored by noon, and 18 customers in the Skellister area were cut off at 7.20am on Tuesday due to a damaged pole, but had power back by 1pm.
Travel plans were severely disrupted throughout the week. Inter-island ferries have been badly affected today, with almost all services suspended at some time. The Bressay ferry was offering a reduced service in the morning, but later got back to normal, and the Whalsay ferry was going to “try” a run. Services later in the day were running, although times were altered due to an ambulance run. The situation for Yell Sound was being reviewed at noon, with the first ferry due to leave Ulsta at 3.30pm, “weather permitting”. The Bluemull service was “restricted until further notice”.
Flights in and out of Sumburgh were disrupted, with no arrivals this morning as planes were either cancelled or put on hold. Only two flights, one to Edinburgh and one to Kirkwall, took off early in the morning.
Flights had been possible yesterday, thanks to a brief period of respite from the weather, but had been disrupted on Monday, with two flights due to arrive in Sumburgh, one from Inverness and one from Glasgow, being diverted.
Ferry services too were hit hard. Today’s sailing of the NorthLink ferry Hrossey was due to leave Aberdeen as soon as tidal conditions permitted, and is due into Lerwick between 7.30am and noon tomorrow.
The southbound sailing of Hjaltland from Lerwick is delayed until midnight, and will go straight to Aberdeen.
Yesterday the boats had been cancelled in both directions due to the forecast of storm Frank, and Monday’s gales saw the Hrossey leave Lerwick shortly after noon, instead of the normal 5pm. She reached Aberdeen around 1pm yesterday, making for a 24-hour-plus journey at slow speed.
The Hjaltland’s northbound sailing from Aberdeen, due to leave on Monday night, was delayed until 4am on Tuesday and only arrived in Lerwick around 5pm that day.
The winds reached storm force 10 overnight from Monday to Tuesday, with the strongest gust of 55 knots (63mph) recorded at Lerwick Observatory at 6am yesterday.