60,000 without power as storm turns to blizzards

Met Office issued highest weather warning as ferocious storms battered parts of Scotland on Thursday.

Wintry weather: Snow and ice caused problems on roads in Aberdeenshire.
© STV

More than 60,000 homes were left without power after winds reaching 160mph struck Scotland.

After sweeping across the Central Belt, the severe winds were expected to travel north and east, with blizzard conditions overnight.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government's "resilience committee" would meet again on Friday.

She said: "While the worst of the weather has subsided across the central belt, other areas of the country are still experiencing severe conditions.

"Contractors are working hard to resolve remaining issues on our roads and with power supplies. I would urge all members of the public to continue to take care and heed advice from police and travel authorities."

In total there were 95 incidents on the roads on Thursday, mostly caused by fallen trees. Officers in Strathclyde said they dealt with over 500 weather-related incidents.

As gusts Gusts reached 165mph at Cairn Gorm, the Met Office warned of severe weather and gale-force winds and councils decided to close hundreds of schools.

Red warnings - the higest level of Met Office alerts - were issued for wind in the Strathclyde, central belt, Tayside, Lothians and Borders areas.

In North Ayrshire, a school bus was blown over on the A737 near Dalry at around 10am. There were no passengers on board at the time, while the driver was uninjured. Strathclyde Police closed the road in both directions as they tried to move the vehicles.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency issued eight flood warnings and 16 flood alerts for locations across Scotland. The areas affected are: Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Arran, Caithness and Sutherland, Central, Dumfries and Galloway, Easter Ross and Great Glen, Findhorn Nairn Moray and Speyside, Skye and Lochaber, Tayside, and West Central Scotland.

The Forth Road Bridge closed for four hours between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday because of the stormy weather.

Glasgow and Edinburgh airports each cancelled 17 flights and a further four planes had to be diverted from Edinburgh. Passengers were advised to check the status of their flight before going to either airport.

Caledonian MacBrayne ferries to the western islands of North Uist, Harris, Mull, Islay, Gigha, Coll, Tiree and Arran were all cancelled, while other ferry timetables have been severely disrupted.

ScotRail said a train travelling from Edinburgh to Aberdeen had struck a metal shed which was blown on to the track.

Trains between Aberdeen and Inverurie, Glasgow and Dunblane, and Edinburgh and Glenrothes were cancelled, while other services ran less frequently.

The Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh line was closed after a rock fall at Stromeferry, while landslides closed the A82 Corran Ferry, south of Fort William, and the A87 at Sheilbridge.

The Forth Road Bridge was reopened to traffic at around 6.30pm, almost eight hours after it closed.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government's response to the weather had been appropriate, with the right action taken.

She said: "There has been no over-reaction. When you have the Met Office telling you that they have got the highest warning covering the central belt of the country, and the police telling you there is a probability - which turned out to be the reality - of a no-travel warning, then I think it is incumbent on Government to react appropriately to that.

"That's what we did. The decisions that have been taken have been right and appropriate."

For more information on being ready for winter, visit the STV Health Centre, brought to you by NHS inform.

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