Flood update: Man killed and 130,000 homes without power as storm batters Scotland and travels south
PUBLISHED: 15:04 05 December 2013 | UPDATED: 15:04 05 December 2013
The man was killed when his HGV was blown onto cars near Bathgate in West Lothian.
Four other people were treated for minor injuries after the lorry overturned on the A801 one mile north of Boghead roundabout at around 8.10am.
The road was closed and police have appealed for witnesses.
Scotland’s rail network has been suspended and drivers are being warned of “extremely poor” road conditions.
Gusts of more than 140mph were recorded overnight at Aonach Mor near Fort William in the Highlands, the Met Office said.
Speeds of 93mph were recorded at Altnaharra, rising to 106mph at Glen Ogle.
Winds reached 59mph in Edinburgh and 63mph in Glasgow.
A 61-year-old man was struck by a falling tree in the Meadows in Edinburgh and was taken to the city’s Royal Infirmary. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
A tree also fell on a car in the city’s Quality Street but no one was hurt.
A woman was taken to Hairmyres Hospital in South Lanarkshire after a tree fell on a taxi in Bothwell Road, Hamilton.
Part of the roof around the helipad at Southern General Hospital in Glasgow was blown away by the severe wind.
Glasgow Central station had to be evacuated when debris smashed glass in the roof. No one was hurt and arriving passengers were escorted from the station. The station has since been reopened.
Police Scotland reported an explosion at an electricity substation in Coatbridge. No one was hurt.
Lorries were blown over on the M74 at Douglas, South Lanarkshire, and on the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful in Argyll and Bute.
Motorists were advised not to travel this morning because of the “extremely dangerous” road conditions.
Transport Scotland escalated its travel warning to stage-four red, advising people to avoid using roads particularly in high-sided vehicles.
Closures, fallen trees, minor accidents and flash flooding have affected much of the road network, particularly in the south, west, central and Perthshire areas.
Many bridges have been closed or restricted to traffic, including the Forth Road Bridge, A898 Erskine Bridge, Dornoch Bridge, Skye Bridge and Tay Road Bridge.
As the winds subsided in some parts of the country, police reduced their warning to motorists but said a high risk of disruption remains.
Drivers in the Dumfries and Galloway area are still advised to avoid travel completely for the time being.
A spokesman said: “The police are advising drivers that conditions for travel are extremely poor and there is a high risk of disruption for road journeys in Scotland. If you do travel, you are likely to experience significant delays.”
Network Rail said debris on lines and damaged equipment means it is currently not safe to operate any services. Trains were halted at their nearest stations and passengers had to disembark.
Spokesman Nick King said: “The weather conditions are such that we are having to bring the network to a standstill at the moment. There’s too much debris and too much damage to equipment to continue.”
ScotRail managing director Steve Montgomery told BBC News: “It’s the right decision when you see the type of weather we’ve experienced this morning.
“We’ve had various problems, with trampolines, we’ve had haystacks on the line, we’ve had numerous trees and telegraph poles, right across the whole of the network in Scotland.
“We will gradually introduce services later in the day again but it is going to be a challenge for Network Rail to get out there and make sure all the lines are safe.”
Schools have been closed throughout Scotland and Caledonian MacBrayne services are being disrupted by the high winds, with some ferries cancelled.
By late morning 195 schools had been closed throughout Scotland.
Flights have also been cancelled, delayed or diverted with passengers advised to contact their airline before travelling.
An easyJet spokeswoman said a flight from Bristol to Edinburgh was diverted to Newcastle and a Gatwick flight to Glasgow was diverted to Manchester. A flight to Aberdeen returned to Gatwick due to high winds.
Scottish Hydro Electric said more than 80,000 homes across the north of Scotland have suffered power cuts. The worst affected areas are the Highlands, Tayside and Argyll, with road blockages slowing work to reconnect people.
The company says it has mobilised 1,000 engineers and support staff and that power has since been restored to around 3,000 homes.
A further 50,000 properties were cut off in central and southern Scotland at the storm’s peak, Scottish Power said. Power has now been restored to around 28,000 properties.
Uprooted trees and other debris were blown on to overhead power lines, causing damage and bringing down the lines in some areas. The company said around 500 staff are working to fix the faults, including extra engineers drafted in from England.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it is responding to a high number of calls about fallen trees and road blockages throughout Scotland.
In the east of the country the service dealt with 63 incidents between 7am and 10am. These include five road accidents, two reports of trees falling on vehicles and 12 relating to dangerous structures such as falling chimneys and slates.
In the north of Scotland, firefighters in Aberdeen were called out to a chimney that fell through the roof of a house in Danestone, Bridge of Don at about 7.45am. A tree fell onto a house in the Aboyne area of Aberdeenshire at about 7am but no one was injured.
In Perth, Friarton Bridge was closed when a lorry overturned on the southbound carriageway.
A fire service spokesman said: “Our crews have been working extremely hard throughout the night and into this morning to respond to requests for help from our communities. We will continue to help out where required and ensure people are as safe as possible.
“We would urge everyone to take care today and if you are out on the roads then reduce your speed and arrive safely.”
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 15 flood warnings and 13 flood alerts throughout Scotland.
Flood warnings are in place for Caithness and Sutherland, Easter Ross, Tayside, Central Scotland, Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians, and the Borders.
The AA said its severe weather team is deployed in Scotland to deal with coastal flooding.
Darron Burness, head of the group’s flood rescue team, said: “Coastal flooding is particularly dangerous because of the risk of high waves and very fast-moving water.
“I would particularly warn motorists to avoid coastal routes where the combination of high winds and flooding with sea water will be life-threatening.”
John Hutchinson, a senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said snow is likely to replace rain in northern areas.
“We have a band of heavy rain with some much colder air coming in behind that, especially across northern areas, so there will be snow showers,” he said.
“The colder air is flooding down from the north.”
Police Scotland said snow is affecting the B976 Crathie to Gairnshiel road in Aberdeenshire.
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