Storms set to sweep in with snow

Published: Saturday 10th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The first widespread snowfall of the year is expected today as the second of two Atlantic storms sweep the country.

Thousands of homes were left without power yesterday as winds up to 113mph battered the north of Britain.

The worst affected areas were the Highlands and islands of Scotland and at the height of the problems more than 100,000 properties were cut off from electricity.

Transport was also affected with trains and ferries cancelled and roads closed due to accidents and fallen trees.

A gust of 113mph was recorded at Stornoway on Lewis, the strongest gust since records at that site began in 1970, while winds of 76mph were recorded at High Bradfield, in South Yorkshire, and in Aberdaron, Gwynedd.

Gales are expected to return over the weekend but are due to peak at around 70 mph. Forecasters said they will be accompanied by snow with yellow “be prepared” weather alerts in place for all of Scotland, the north and Midlands of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said: “As we go through Saturday morning a band of squally rain will move south eastwards and that’s going to bring brighter but much colder conditions behind it.

“Some showers are likely to be heavy and may well fall as sleet or snow, particularly in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England and some of the showers could bring significant accumulations, particularly over higher ground. We could widely see 2cm to 4cm of snow, and perhaps 8cm on the highest ground.

“That could cause major disruption to travel so there are yellow warnings in place for affected areas.

“As it moves south it will leave colder conditions so after a mild night temperatures will really tumble to 4 or 5C.”

Engineers are working to reconnect homes that remain off the grid and Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution said staff are “facing a monumental task” in getting to damaged lines in remote parts of the country.

”Welfare vans” have been sent to the worst affected areas in the north of Scotland offering free hot food and drinks, while care has been organised for the most vulnerable customers, the company said.

Yesterday, ScotRail was forced to suspend all train services in Scotland for a time due to safety reasons and the Forth Road Bridge was closed for a period after a van was blown onto its side.

In Inverness, the Premier Inn hotel was evacuated at around 3am after a gable wall collapsed, while there was also damage to properties in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Flood alerts and warnings remain in place for the central belt of Scotland.

The ferocious gales were stirred up by an extra-powerful jet stream triggered by plunging temperatures in the United States hitting warmer air in the south.

Published: Saturday 10th January 2015 by The News Editor

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