Abigail flexes her muscles but shows mercy to Argyll
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.’
The lighthouse at Ardrishaig harbour was battered by waves whipped up by