Scotland storm: Work to restore power to homes

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Media captionThe storms caused more destruction across the north of Scotland

Engineers are trying to reconnect about 30,000 Scottish homes still left without power after Thursday's storm.

The strong storm - the worst in the UK for a decade - brought down trees, closed roads and schools and knocked out power lines.

The storm eased in the central belt on Thursday evening but caused problems across the north and north east.

Power companies said most people should be reconnected on Friday but some may not have electricity until the weekend.

Meanwhile, all travel restrictions have now been lifted, although some minor roads remain closed.

Less than 5% of schools stayed closed on Friday.

Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: "While the worst of the weather has now passed, we are now seeing the after-effects of this storm, with a number of homes across Scotland still left without power.

Image caption Work is ongoing to clear damaged power lines and restore supplies to customers

"Contractors are working hard to resolve remaining issues with power supplies and on our transport network in difficult conditions.

"Scottish and Southern Energy and Scottish Power have informed us that between them they now have more than 1,300 engineers - many drafted in from other areas - working hard across the country to get power back to customers.

"They report that they expect that the vast majority of homes will have power back over the course of today."

About 150,000 homes are thought to have lost power during the day on Thursday and more than 70,000 were off overnight.

Jim and Ann Todd, a retired couple from the village of Balnaguard in Perthshire are among those still without power.

Mr Todd told BBC Scotland: "The power went off at about half past one yesterday afternoon. We have no electric, no heating, the log fire is the only central heating. We have a gas cooker which we can boil water on to make tea."

His wife added: "You have to try and do things when it's daylight. Try and prepare things because we won't be able to do it by candlelight. We are going to have eggs tonight made on the gas stove.

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Media captionThe severe weather caused a wind turbine in Ayrshire to catch fire

"In the morning we turned all the hobs on the cooker on to get the place warmed up."

The couple said they had had no indication as yet as to when their power would be restored.

Scottish Hydro, which is part of power giant SSE, said it had reconnected 40,000 customers and was continuing to work hard restoring power to a remaining 29,000 homes.

The power firm, which supplies most areas north of Stirling, said all parts of its region were affected.

Argyll was the worst affected area, with Tayside, the north east and the Highlands badly hit.

A spokesman said: "Scottish Hydro Power Distribution (SHEPD) is making very good progress in the efforts to restore electricity supplies following the substantial damage caused to the electricity network by yesterday's exceptional weather.

"Nearly 800 engineers began working in difficult conditions at 06:00 this morning to restore electricity supplies to over 70,000 customers who were without power last night.

"Access to many parts of the country continues to be hampered by roads blocked by trees and other wind borne debris.

"It is expected that the vast majority of customers will have their electricity supply restored by late this evening although some customers in outlying areas could still be without electricity tomorrow."

Scottish Power, which is responsible for supply in the southern part of Scotland, said it expected all customers affected by the storm to be reconnected on Friday, although small pockets of customers would remain without supplies late into the evening.

The firm had 2,500 homes without power on Friday morning.

The areas that saw the most disruption were Ayrshire, Fife and Central Scotland.

A spokesman said: "The biggest issue affecting the electricity network has been trees and other debris blown on to overhead power lines.

"The recovery was also hampered by roads and paths being blocked by fallen trees that restricted access in many locations, and where wind speeds remained too high for engineers to work at height."

On Thursday evening, the severe weather led to part of a causeway road on the Orkney island of Hoy being washed away.

Part of the road surface of the Ayre, which links the communities of Hoy and South Walls, broke up after 22:00 on Thursday and the road remains completely impassable.

All schools on Orkney remain closed and BBC Radio Orkney went off air after the transmitter was damaged in the storm.

In Aberdeen, several families were evacuated from a tenement in the Kincorth area after the gable end of a house collapsed on to a car.

No-one was injured.

Image caption Orkney was badly hit by storm winds on Thursday night

One electricity worker in the Scottish Borders had a lucky escape on Thursday night.

He got out of his van to check lines near Walkerburn and came back to find a tree had fallen on it.

Grampian Police said there had been several early morning road crashes in which motorists had driven into trees lying on the road.

Grampian Fire and Rescue dealt with 75 storm-related call-outs on Thursday night, three times the normal amount.

Many calls were to remove trees and chimney pots and a number of trampolines which had blown away.

They also put out grass fires caused by electrical cables coming down.

A senior fire officer told the BBC it was the most severe storm in his 20 years of service.

In the Highlands, all schools in Caithness and the north coast of Sutherland were closed.

Across Scotland local authorities have been assessing structural damage to schools and council properties.

All of Edinburgh's Christmas attractions in east Princes Street Gardens including the big wheel, and Christmas market, reopened after being closed on Thursday.

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