Sat, Dec 10, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Thousands without power as monster storm hits Scotland

AFP, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

Scotland was battered by winds of up to 266kph on Thursday, causing widespread disruption to transport links, closing schools and leaving tens of thousands without power.

Thousands of schools around Glasgow and the west of Scotland were closed, while every major bridge across the country was shut, flights from the main airports were disrupted and train services were cut.

More than 55,000 people were left without power after falling trees brought down power lines.

The Met Office national weather service issued a red alert, its highest warning, in Britain’s first major storm this winter.

Gales hitting 266kph were recorded at the summit of Cairn Gorm in the Scottish Highlands, while the main cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh were hit by wind speeds of about 113kph.

Northern England was also hit, with several motorists stuck in floods, while Wales and Northern Ireland were also affected.

There were accidents across Britain, although no serious injuries were reported.

More than 300 passengers were stranded for nine hours off the east coast of northern England when a ferry from Rotterdam, Netherlands, was unable to dock in Hull because of fears that high winds could damage the ship if it entered the port.

A wind turbine in Ayrshire, southwest Scotland, was destroyed after bursting into flames.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Hydro, an energy supplier, said about 500 staff were working to restore electricity, but the storm was hampering their efforts.

“With 100mph [160kph] winds, it’s very dangerous for engineers to climb electricity poles,” the spokeswoman said.

The northeast of Scotland was expected to be affected worst yesterday.

“As the storm passes through and moves to the east of the UK on Friday, northwesterly winds will bring in cold air, which will see a drop in temperatures,” Met Office forecaster Brent Walker said. “This is expected to bring snow to northern and western parts of the UK, while other parts of the country will see a cold night on Friday with widespread temperatures of around minus 1oC.”

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