Flood­ing warn­ing as Mo­ray bat­tered by storm

As soon as sand­bags de­liv­ered, grit­ters take to roads

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID MACKAY

School chil­dren were sent home at lunch time in Mo­ray as the re­gion pre­pared for the worst of Storm Caro­line.

Yes­ter­day morn­ing the coun­cil warned that the area was at risk of a “perfect storm” as strong winds and high tides com­bined with bliz­zards in­land.

Sand­bags were put down in the coastal vil­lages of Port­gor­don and Portessie fol­low­ing flood warn­ings.

Mean­while coun­cil work­ers pre­pared for Gar­mouth and Kingston to be cut off dur­ing the high tide. Fears were raised that waves could crash over walls from the Mo­ray Firth, flood­ing homes.

Pupils at Mosstod­loch Pri­mary were sent home at lunchtime as con­di­tions wors­ened.

Mean­while stu­dents in Fochabers at Milne’s Pri­mary and Milne’s High were also sent home early.

Once sand­bags were de­ployed the at­ten­tion turned to grit­ting roads.

De­spite the warn­ings, the re­gion avoided floods.

Fochabers Lhan­bryde coun­cil­lor David Brem­ner, who lives in Kingston, said: “There was a high tide but the weather was not as bad as was fore­cast.

“The wa­ter came up over the road but other than that I think we prob­a­bly es­caped the worst of it.

“Sand­bags are al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated dur­ing days like this and I’m sure they will have eased some con­cerns.”

A Mo­ray Coun­cil spokesman said: “We de­liv­ered a pal­let of sand­bags to Port­gor­don and Portessie. These were freely avail­able for res­i­dents whose homes were at risk from waves over-top­ping the har­bour.

“A quan­tity of sand­bags was also in Gar­mouth and Kingston in a well­re­hearsed sce­nario for pro­tec­tion of the vil­lages.

“A fur­ther visit was made later in the af­ter­noon to en­sure suf­fi­cient bags were avail­able.

“Grit­ters treated all routes, other than coastal roads, and car­ried out a sec­ond treat­ment in the early evening.”

A ferry was in­volved in a col­li­sion with an­other ves­sel while dock­ing in ex­treme weather yes­ter­day.

The in­ci­dent came as pupils were res­cued from a school bus in Orkney as waves crashed around it on a coastal road, and thou­sands of is­land homes lost power, and planes, trains and fer­ries were can­celled.

The Orkney ferry Ham­navoe was un­able to dock in Strom­ness and was es­corted by a tug to Scapa Flow where she was ex­pected to spend the night, leav­ing 23 pas­sen­gers stranded at sea.

Dur­ing the failed dock­ing at­tempt, Ham­navoe was in­volved in a col­li­sion with North­ern Light­house Board ves­sel Pole Star.

Last night Stu­art Gar­rett, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at op­er­a­tors Serco NorthLink Fer­ries said: “To­day our Pent­land Firth ves­sel MV Ham­navoe was un­able to dock at Strom­ness as a re­sult of se­vere weather due to Storm Caro­line and we are cur­rently wait­ing for a break in the weather to en­sure the safe ar­rival of our pas­sen­gers in Orkney.

“While at­tempt­ing to dock in these dif­fi­cult con­di­tions and with tug as­sis­tance, light con­tact

“The waves were break­ing over the wall – they were big”

was made with an­other ves­sel in the har­bour which re­sulted in minor ves­sel dam­age but no injuries to those on board.

“We will con­tinue look­ing af­ter our pas­sen­gers on board un­til they are able to safely dis­em­bark. Cur­rent fore­casts sug­gest that there is a pos­si­bil­ity that this could be to­mor­row.

Winds reached up to 79mph at Alt­na­harra in Suther­land, with 33ft waves bat­ter­ing the coast. A top wind speed of 124mph was recorded on Cairn­gorm Moun­tain.

More than 30 young­sters on board a school bus in Orkney had a “lucky es­cape” when it broke down in the storm and was bat­tered by huge waves break­ing over the sea wall at Scapa Beach Road in Kirk­wall.

The Kirk­wall Gram­mar pupils were res­cued by a 4x4 in a dra­matic op­er­a­tion. The in­ci­dent hap­pened around 11.20am.

Former Kirk­wall Lifeboat coxswain Ge­off Gar­dens came across the res­cue.

Mr Gar­dens, 65, said: “In all my years this is the worst weather I have seen for many a day. The chil­dren were very lucky.

“The chil­dren were all fine but the bus was rock­ing. The waves were break­ing over the wall – they were big.

“It took quite a few runs to get all the kids off – they were calm through­out ”

Bus, ferry and train ser­vices were sus­pended across the High­lands and is­lands, and fallen trees caused fur­ther dis­rup­tion on roads.

Scotrail Al­liance said a lim­ited num­ber of ser­vices had re­sumed on the West High­land line last night but ser­vices be­tween In­ver­ness and Wick/Thurso, and In­ver­ness and Kyle of Lochalsh, re­mained sus­pended.

Safety checks were be­ing un­der­taken on the Aberdeen-In­ver­ness line.

Wa­ter washes over coastal de­fences at Cro­marty Bridge

Vo­jta Veszpremi at­tached his four-year-old son To­bias to a large ny­lon rope and donned hel­mets to stop him be­ing blown away by Storm Caro­line in Stornoway on Lewis yes­ter­day

CRUEL SEA: Waves crash along the shore at Portessie, where sand­bags had been handed out by the coun­cil

MV Ham­navoe, es­corted by a tug, heads back out to Scapa Flow

A tram­po­line on rail tracks caused de­lays

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