November 27, 2020

Severe winds hammer Scotland

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LONDON (AP) — Severe winds slammed Scotland on Thursday (8), snarling transport and leaving thousands without power as gusts in some areas surpassed 100 miles per hour (160 kph).

Britain’s Met Office — which issued a “red alert” for parts of Scotland — said a wind speed of 151 mph was recorded on a summit in Aberdeenshire. On lower ground, 105 mph winds hit Tulloch Bridge in Inverness, it said.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said a wide area of the country would be affected and that “people could be putting themselves at considerable risk” by travelling in such weather conditions.

The gale-force winds led authorities to close many schools and most major bridges.

Glasgow Airport said 37 flights were canceled, while Edinburgh Airport said 21 were canceled and three diverted.

The wind made operations “extremely challenging,” the Edinburgh Airport said on its web site. Meanwhile, train schedules also were disrupted.

Scottish Hydro said “thousands” of customers were without power, mostly in the west of Scotland. It said it expects the situation to “develop throughout the day” as the storm moves east.

The severe weather also hit parts of northern England, with Cumbria experiencing heavy rain and widespread locallised flooding.

Buckingham Palace said the weather had forced Sophie, the Countess of Wessex — wife of Prince Edward — to postpone two planned visits in northern England, while the Duke of Gloucester was forced to cancel engagements in Glasgow.

A Royal Air Force helicopter rescued two people from a car trapped in rising waters in Aysgarth, in Yorkshire, northern England.

The clear-up of devastation caused by hurricane-strength winds and violent storms in Scotland has begun in earnest, with the Scottish government warning that some people may be without electricity until the weekend.

Engineers were urgently trying on Friday to reconnect more than 70,000 homes which were without power, some travel services were still disrupted and councils were clearing debris from roads after the fiercest storms in a decade hit the country.

Most schools, businesses and council offices that had been forced to close early on Thursday afternoon reopened. Winds – which reached 165mph on Thursday – eased, with the worst weather confined to north-east Scotland and the Shetlands.

Glasgow and Edinburgh airports were open but warned of severe delays and cancellations, while Scotrail services were still delayed across Scotland with cancellations expected on routes from Inverness to Aberdeen, Gourock to Glasgow Central, and Oban and Fort William to Glasgow Queen Street.

Roads were beginning to be cleared, with police saying conditions had improved across the Western Isles and the Highlands. However, many roads were still blocked by fallen trees and surface water.

The strong winds forced the closure of every major bridge in Scotland including the Forth road bridge between Edinburgh and Fife, the Erskine bridge connecting Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire, the Skye bridge and the Tay road bridge.

Orkney suffered widespread flooding and damage; all schools in Orkney, Caithness and on the north coast of Sutherland remained shut.

Fourteen schools closed in Aberdeenshire and some schools in Angus, Argyll and Bute, Shetland, Stirling and the Western Isles were also without power.

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