Scotland storm: Gales batter the country

Largs lifeboat station - pic Susie Simister Scotland took a battering as gales gusted up to 100 mph

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Severe storm-force winds and heavy snowfalls have hit Scotland, disrupting travel, damaging buildings and cutting power to tens of thousands of homes.

Gales gusted up to 100mph and heavy snowfalls affected higher routes. Many buildings were damaged.

There was disruption to air, rail, ferry and bus routes.

Wednesday is forecast to be a calmer day but the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued 11 flood alerts, most of them for Tayside.

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Late on Tuesday evening, the power companies said about 40,000 customers were still without electricity.

There have been blizzards on the A9 at Aviemore and many roads were affected by fallen trees. Commuters across Scotland have been urged to travel with caution.

Network Rail Scotland said chainsaw gangs were out on the network clearing multiple tree falls and that some debris was so large cranes were being brought in.

A total of 856 fallen trees have been removed from the rail network in Scotland.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said it had attended 488 incidents between 00:00 and 13:00 on Tuesday, with officers mostly having to deal with structural damage from fallen trees and collapsed buildings.

The fire and rescue service warned conditions were still "dangerous" and, with heavy rain forecast, warned the public of water getting into damaged buildings.

Fifteen people were rescued from a boat which was blown away as it was being repaired in a shipyard.

Clyde Coastguard said the fishing vessel was at Ferguson's yard in Port Glasgow when it broke loose and drifted away with the crewmen and workers onboard at about 10:00.

A coastguard spokesman said it was later anchored securely and no one was injured.

Violent storm

The crew of Helensburgh lifeboat rescued five people who had been on board yachts at Rhu marina.

As weather conditions were beyond the operational limits of the RNLI boat, the crew had to reach the yachts by crawling along walkways at the marina. Winds at the marina at the time of the rescue were force 11, violent storm.

Five people were injured when mobile homes were upturned by the wind at Stratheck holiday park near Inverchapel, between Loch Eck and the Holy Loch.

Three remain in hospital in Paisley. One of them, a 35-year-old woman, has been reported to be in a serious but stable condition.

The Aston Hotel in Dumfries suffered major structural damage after the storm ripped off part of its roof.

Wednesday is forecast to be another wet day with some persistent heavy rain, especially in the west, which could lead to some flooding.

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UK forecast for 23/10/2014

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