Edinburgh weather: Gale force winds wreak havoc

Safety barriers on Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle were blown down by the high winds. Picture: Greg Macvean

Safety barriers on Johnston Terrace below Edinburgh Castle were blown down by the high winds. Picture: Greg Macvean

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GALE force winds have ripped through the Capital, tearing down masonry and roof tiles from city centre buildings.

Jenners was damaged when copper sheets were wrenched off the department store’s roof, closing part of Rose Street Lane.

Cladding was also left ­hanging from a Potterrow building, as emergency services raced to seal off the road.

A barrier below Edinburgh Castle – put up as part of a £1 million safety project – which shields Johnston Terrace from falling rocks was also flattened in the gusts.

A spokesperson for Historic Scotland said: “Due to ­yesterday’s severe weather conditions, part of the temporary barrier installed on the Johnston Terrace side of the castle was blown over by the wind.

“Our works team were ­quickly on site to assess the damage and to look at stabilising options, following which the barrier was put back in place.”

For two hours part of Rose Street Lane, just off Princes Street, was under police cordon as roofers worked to make ­Jenners safe.

It was estimated three copper sheets at the rear of the shop measuring about four metres by one metre had been tossed on to the lane, with others sitting “precariously”. High winds left a dangerous situation with roofers saying more metal sheets could have fallen on to Rose Street itself if not secured.

Darrell Hardy, contracts manager for Corstorphine Roofing and Building, said: “The direction the wind was blowing would have carried [other sheets] on to Rose Street, which would have been catastrophic.”

Staff alerted police at about 9am and fire crews arrived, but were not able to set up equipment to reach the roof because of high winds. Instead an emergency call was made to builders, who secured the remaining metal sheets, and the lane was reopened at about 11.20am.

Mr Hardy said: “We ­mobilised the cherry picker to make it safe.

“We had about eight or nine men there at one point. The sheet metal had blown off ­because of high winds.

“The sheets are about four metres in height and a metre wide. They’re are all clicked ­together. If one sheet goes they all go.”

The city was on high alert due to the strong winds, with the Castle, the Nelson Monument, the Scott Monument and the zoo all closed to the public.

Nicola Maxey, a spokeswoman for the Met Office, said a blast of 75mph was recorded at Blackford Hill at 9am followed by an even stronger gust of 81mph at 1pm.

Conditions should be calmer today, with average wind speeds of 17mph and the sun expected to make an appearance.