Thousands still without power as army of engineers battle to overcome arctic storm damage

//Thousands still without power as army of engineers battle to overcome arctic storm damage

Thousands still without power as army of engineers battle to overcome arctic storm damage

Engineers fixing power lines brought down by trees blown over by wind

MORE than 130,000 homes were left without electricity as the storm battered Scotland.

Power lines were brought down by fallen trees as the ferocious winds caused havoc.

And engineers battling to restore supplies continually found roads and bridges blocked by trees and other storm debris.

The high winds also prevented them from climbing poles to make repairs.

Scottish Hydro Electric said more than 80,000 homes across the north of Scotland suffered power cuts, with Highlands, Tayside and Argyll worst affected.

The area north of Inverness, including Muir of Ord and Dingwall, was badly hit. And island areas, including North Uist and Lewis, suffered widespread blackouts.

The company mobilised 1000 engineers and support staff but the winds took their toll as schools closed because of lack of power and householders were left shivering in darkness.

Speaking from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, where staff were also hampered by snow, a Scottish and Southern Energy official said: “Engineers have worked tirelessly to restore as many customers as possible.

“But access to areas which have lost power is proving extremely difficult.”

ScottishPower said a further 50,000 properties were cut off in central and southern Scotland at the peak of the storm, although good progress was made in restoring supplies during the day.

Extra engineers were drafted in from England to help Scots-based staff dealing with more than 400 separate faults.

The worst-hit supply blackspots in the south were Dumfries and Galloway – where 14 primary schools closed, Lanarkshire, the Borders and Ayrshire. But faults were also reported in Central Scotland, Fife and the Lothians.

Wind causes massive waves at Stranraer seafront

Customers trying to find out how long their power cuts would last were not always sympathetic to the difficulties the power companies faced.

Claire Agutter tweeted: “On hold to @scottishpower for 48 minutes and then they cut me off *sobs*”. And Twitter and Facebook were flooded with complaints from parents who had to leave work to pick up kids from schools which had been closed.

Despite all the problems, the power companies were able to get supplies back to tens of thousands of homes during Thursday. But an estimated 64,000 households across the country were still without power yesterday evening.

The power cuts were a major cause of school closures across the country, with 195 primaries and secondaries forced to shut.


Tree crushes car in Hamilton during storms

As well as the wind damage, several coastal districts were hit by flooding and storm surges.

A woman and a child had to be rescued by firefighters after flood water trapped them in their car in Garmouth, Moray.

Heavy rain also caused problems in some areas. Tyndrum in Perthshire was worst-hit, with 56mm recorded between 7pm on Wednesday and noon yesterday.


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