Abi­gail flexes her mus­cles but shows mercy to Ar­gyll

The Oban Times - - News -

STORM Abi­gail didn’t wreak as much havoc in the West High­lands and Is­lands as ex­pected, but still caused power out­ages and school clo­sures.

The storm, the first to be of­fi­cially named by the Met Of­fice, left more than 20,000 homes with­out power as winds as high as 101mph and heavy rain swept across the re­gion on Thurs­day night and Fri­day morn­ing.

The storm was deemed ‘ qui­eter than ex­pected’ by the Met Of­fice, but caused a spate of power cuts, with more than 30 high-volt­age faults re­ported in the area, in­clud­ing Ar­gyll, Skye, the Western Isles and Colon­say.

Scot­tish Hy­dro Elec­tric Power Dis­tri­bu­tion (SHEPD) en­gi­neers worked late into the night on Thurs­day, then started at first light on Fri­day to re­store power and as­sess dam­age caused by the high winds and light­en­ing strikes.

The Western Isles was one of the ar­eas worst-af­fected, with all schools and nurs­eries closed to chil­dren on Fri­day and all CalMac fer­ries can­celled to and from the Western Isles on Thurs­day and Fri­day.

Other fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing Barra Med­i­cal Prac­tice, li­braries and leisure cen­tres closed early on Thurs­day and Fri­day, and bus ser­vices ran on lim­ited ser­vices.

On Mon­day, Western Isles schools were still weath­er­ing the storm, with Eoli­garry and Castle­bay closed all day, and Lochmaddy and Paible, Liona­cleit, Bali­vanich, and Dal­iburgh all send­ing pupils home early.

Traf­fic-wise, in Lochaber, High­land Coun­cil staff re­sponded to some dis­rup­tion in the early evening of Fri­day, with trees blown over on the A861 near Tres­laig. There was also flood­ing at the Lochy­bridge and Kin­gair­loch junc­tion on the A861. At the time of go­ing to press, Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil re­ported no ma­jor in­ci­dents.

Mean­while, ferry op­er­a­tor CalMac said it had weath­ered the storm well, de­liv­er­ing more than two thirds of ferry ser­vices.

Oper­a­tions di­rec­tor, Drew Col­lier, said: ‘Col­lated fig­ures are now avail­able and show that on Thurs­day CalMac op­er­ated 224 sail­ings from a to­tal of 337 timetabled, while on Fri­day 277 sail­ings from a to­tal of 352 were suc­cess­fully com­pleted as the com­pany con­tin­ued to de­liver its vi­tal ser­vices across the 200-mile long net­work.

‘ Where pos­si­ble and, of course, when safe to do so, we were de­ter­mined to keep our fer­ries run­ning.’

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The light­house at Ar­dr­ishaig har­bour was bat­tered by waves whipped up by

Storm Abi­gail.

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