Conor? Take cover!

Gales, bl­iz­zards, treach­er­ous driv­ing con­di­tions, ferry dis­rup­tion and power cuts as storm throws much of Scot­land into tur­moil

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Jenny Kane

STORM Conor blasted Scot­land yes­ter­day as gales and bl­iz­zards ripped through, bring­ing dam­age and dis­rup­tion.

Much of the coun­try was un­der a blan­ket of snow as tem­per­a­tures plum­meted fol­low­ing one of the warm­est Christ­mas Days on record.

Shop­pers brav­ing the storm for Box­ing Day sales were hit with hur­ri­cane­force winds which ex­ceeded 90mph in some parts. Those on the roads were also met with treach­er­ous con­di­tions with ice, hail, strong winds and snow mak­ing some routes im­pass­able.

Power out­ages were again wide­spread, af­fect­ing fam­i­lies in dozens of com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing in In­ver­ness-shire, the West­ern Isles, Caith­ness and Ar­gyll.

An am­ber ‘be pre­pared’ weather warn­ing was in place across the High­lands and North­ern Isles yes­ter­day, with yel­low ‘be aware’ warn­ings is­sued for much of the rest of Scot­land.

The strong­est gust dur­ing Storm Conor was 94mph recorded at 11am at Sella Ness, Shet­land. Forty miles away, in Ler­wick, a gust of 87mph hit and wind speeds of more than 70mph were ex­pe­ri­enced through­out the High­lands and is­lands. Met Of­fice fore­caster Matt Roe said: ‘It’s ba­si­cally a cold, windy day across Scot­land with a mix of ev­ery­thing.’

Dam­age to power lines caused by trees fall­ing and di­rect light­ning strikes to poles and trans­form­ers meant thou­sands were plunged into dark­ness.

Engi­neers from Scot­tish and South­ern Elec­tric­ity Net­works (SSEN) were once again out in force. By af­ter­noon, as the storm was be­gin­ning to sub­side, they had re­stored power to 9,000 prop­er­ties. How­ever, a fur­ther 1,600 were still cut off.

A tur­bine was left to burn it­self out at Are­cleoch Wind Farm near Bar­rhill, Ayr­shire, af­ter catch­ing fire in high winds while it was switched off for main­te­nance.

Storm Conor came hot on the heels of Storm Bar­bara, which swept across the coun­try just be­fore Christ­mas and caused 26,000 homes to lose power.

Dale Cargill, di­rec­tor of cus­tomer op­er­a­tions for SSEN, said: ‘Our net­work con­tin­ues to stand up well to the chal­leng­ing con­di­tions and we are well re­sourced to re­spond quickly to fur­ther dis­rup­tion.’

Traf­fic Scot­land re­ported spo­radic win­try show­ers on roads such as the M8, M90 and the A720 Ed­in­burgh City By­pass.

High wind warn­ings were in place on bridges, in­clud­ing the Forth Road Bridge and Ersk­ine Bridge.

Ferry ser­vices once again strug­gled to cope, with sev­eral routes to the West­ern and North­ern Isles se­verely dis­rupted. CalMac’s op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Drew Col­lier said: ‘This has been a dif­fi­cult week­end for our com­mu­ni­ties, cus­tomers, crews and port staff.’

The Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency had flood alerts in place for Caith­ness and Suther­land, Orkney, Shet­land and the West­ern Isles.

Mean­while, it was a very dif­fer­ent story south of the Bor­der, with many en­joy­ing glo­ri­ous sun­shine on Box­ing Day.

Although Scot­land will to­day still be blus­tery in places, a more set­tled spell is ex­pected to set in.

De­scent into chaos: A fuel tanker jack­knifed off the A9 at Dru­mochter in the ap­palling con­di­tions, caus­ing se­vere traf­fic dis­rup­tion

Mak­ing waves: Hardy souls take ad­van­tage of a break in the weather at the an­nual Nippy Dip­per event at Aberdeen Beach

Sea­side: One cou­ple, and their dog, en­joy a mild day in Bournemouth

Burnt out: A tur­bine at Are­cleoch Wind Farm

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