Homes have second night without power after Storm Gerriton December 28, 2023 at 10:14 pm

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Some properties in the north of Scotland will not be reconnected to the electricity grid until Friday.

tree fallenImage source, SSEN

Almost 3,000 homes are still without power after Storm Gerrit brought blizzards and flooding to Scotland.

Eleven properties in Cupar, Fife, were evacuated due to flooding while drivers on the A9 in the Highlands were stranded by snow on Wednesday evening.

The road was shut at Scrabster due to a landslide though one lane has reopened.

Power company SSEN said customers in the north east and Shetland had been worst affected, with some power outages likely to continue into Friday.

Elsewhere in the UK, a hundred homes were damaged after a “localised tornado” tore through the Tameside area of Greater Manchester.

Rail services north of Perth and Dundee remained shut down on Thursday morning and key routes between Aberdeen, Dundee and Inverness were closed.

There was also flooding in the Whitesands area of Dumfries and on the A96 at Huntly, while trees have fallen across the A82 south of Invergarry.

Meanwhile six people were rescued from vehicles stuck in flood water in Banchory, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said. No injuries were reported.

Shetland roof

SSEN said about 14,000 homes were left without power overnight.

More than 2,000 were in Shetland, while the rest were spread over the Highlands, Argyll, Orkney, Tayside and central Scotland and the north east.

It is expected some of those in rural areas, particularly those in the north east, could have their power cut off for up to 48 hours.

Welfare vans serving hot food and drink have been set up in affected areas.

SSEN said more than 40,000 customers have been reconnected since the storm began.

Graeme Keddie, SSEN’s director of corporate affairs, apologised to affected customers, adding: “We’re doing all that we can to restore supplies as soon as possible.”

He told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that engineers had made “really good progress” despite “extremely tough conditions”.

SSEN said customers should visit the Power Track website.

Mr Keddie insisted the firm had made “big improvements” on its main network and customer communications after thousands were left without power for a week following Storm Arwen in 2021.

landslide

Image source, Bear Scotland

The Met Office issued had a yellow weather warning for much of Scotland on Wednesday.

A warning covering Shetland was extended until 06:00 on Thursday, with Lerwick registering its strongest wind gust in seven years at 83mph.

A major incident was declared by Highland Council as the A9 was shut for hours due to heavy snow, leaving drivers trapped in their vehicles near the Pass of Drumochter.

Caledonian Sleeper services, to and from Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William, were cancelled on Wednesday night while the British Transport Police was called out to reports that a train had been struck by a tree near Broughty Ferry station.

Pictures showed extensive damage to the driver’s cab.

Th Rail Accident Investigation Branch said it was “in the process of gathering information” and the incident would be reviewed in the coming days.

Shadhida Khalid of Ali's Discount Store
food truck fort augustus

In Cupar, Mohamed Khalid of Ali’s Discount Store estimated flooding had caused £150,000 of damage to his shop.

“Everything has been turned upside down really in the shop,” he told BBC Scotland.

“We don’t know where to begin with the clean up procedure.”

David Duguid, Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, raised concerns that an amber alert should have been in place.

“The effect of the weather in north east Scotland in last 24 hours has felt far more serious than ‘yellow’,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Many of my constituents asking why this wasn’t amber.”

A Met Office spokesperson told BBC Scotland News that the warning was not raised to amber because “the likelihood of disruption on a county scale remained too low to escalate until a very short lead time”.

They added: “Once impacts were observed the benefit of escalation would have been very limited as emergency services were already responding to the situation.

“We will review the efficiency of the warnings as part of this event as usual in the coming days.”

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Power went off in the village of Tarland, Aberdeenshire, from about 10:00 on Wednesday morning.

Anne Keith told BBC Scotland News that residents knew to stock up on supplies following Storm Arwen.

“We were all ready,” she said. “Candles to the ready, power packs to the ready. So it wasn’t too bad.”

Alick Bergman said he had a “rough night” after a power cut forced him and his children to shelter at his parents’ house.

But he had no complaints about the Met Office warning system.

“Weather is a fickle beast,” he said.

“Sometimes they’ll put out an amber warning and it doesn’t amount to much. Sometimes you don’t get a warning at all and it’s pretty horrendous. They do the best they can.”

flooding in Cupar

Stein Connelly, head of transport resilience at Transport Scotland, said: “The weather has improved and the Met Office warnings have ended, but people may still encounter difficult driving conditions due to surface water and flooding.

“We continue to ask people to plan ahead, to drive appropriately and to take care out on the road network.”

CalMac said some ferry services on Thursday were at risk of disruption or cancellation at short notice.

The operator said the latest information on delays and disruption to other routes was available on the CalMac website.

NorthLink services across the Pentland Firth to Orkney were also at risk of disruption.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said the Scottish government’s resilience operation had been activated on Wednesday evening.

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