Storm Deirdre brings travel chaos and powercuts to Scotland

Hundreds of homes across Scotland were still without power on Sunday evening after Storm Deirdre struck.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 8:45 am
Updated Monday, 17th December 2018, 8:46 am

Up to 15,000 homes in Aberdeen, East Lothian, the Borders and Perthshire were affected over the weekend as the country was lashed by high winds, snow and freezing rain.

Nearly 1,000 homes were still waiting to be reconnected last night after power cables were dragged to the ground by the weight of ice.

SSE sent catering vans to areas affected by power cuts and told some of their cut-off customers to go to a local hotel “and have a meal on us”.

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Snow falling in the Borders on Saturday as Storm Deirdre brought treacherous driving conditions. Picture: PA

A spokesman said: “We are making every effort to restore power to all homes.”

A spokesman for ScottishPower Energy Networks said it had been taken by surprise by the volume of snow that fell in parts of the Borders. He said: “Our engineers were taken aback at the sheer weight of snow in some places. This caused damage to poles and interrupted the supply.”

Up to 50cm of snow fell in parts of the Highlands as wind gusts reached up to 80mph and multiple road crashes were reported.

Police in Dumfries said multiple collisions were caused on the M74 between junctions 15 (Moffat) and 17 (Lockerbie).

Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne put most of its west coast network on alert for delay or cancellation.

The A701 near Moffat was shut due to a crash, while heavy snow caused major delays on the A9 between Perth and Aviemore.

Police in Fife said “multiple vehicles” had left the M90 between Perth and Edinburgh due to the “treacherous conditions”.

Amber warnings of dangerous travelling conditions due to the predicted snow, ice and freezing rain had been issued before the weekend by the Scottish Government and Police Scotland.

Superintendent Louise Blakelock, deputy head of road policing, said: “Winter driving is a question of common sense and all drivers should ask themselves if they really need to travel when conditions are poor.

“No one should ever place themselves at risk on the road and it may be worth making alternative arrangements such as delaying travel until conditions improve or using public transport.

“You should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours.

“Charge your mobile phone and plan your route as well as alternative routes.”

Meanwhile retail experts said they expected the storm to have had a major impact on pre-Christmas sales on what is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year.

Professor Leigh Sparks, from Stirling University, said: “The poor weather could not have come at a worse time for our struggling high street.

“The driving icy rain and cold is exactly the right combination of weather that keeps shopper indoors.

“If last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ is anything to go by, retailers face a tough run-up to Christmas.”