Storm Ali: A recap of the damage and disruption in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Storm Ali left a trail of destruction yesterday.
Storm Ali left a trail of destruction yesterday.
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Winds battered the Capital restricting the new Queensferry Crossing for the first time and causing havoc with main transport routes in and out of the city.

As Storm Ali whipped wheelie bins from roadsides, the public battled against road and rail closures including extreme disruption to the east coast mainline.

Damage to the overhead electric wiring left thousands stranded.

And ScotRail suspended services due to trees and other obstructions on the railway, blocking tracks across the Central Belt. This caused huge queues for bus services from Glasgow Buchanan Street station to Edinburgh.

Flights were also affected with 20 delays, 15 cancellations and two diversions – from Alicante and Barcelona – throughout the day.

Up to 90mph winds were recorded uprooting trees across the city.

Residents and motorists escaped unscathed despite the significant amount of felled timber crushing cars, hitting scaffolding and blocking roads.

Local farmers pitched in to help clear the A68 when multiple fallen trees blocked the road south of Pathhead in Midlothian.

One Lothian Bus driver managed to laugh off a potentially catastrophic incident when the whole windscreen of the number 27 to Hunter’s Tryst was blown off the bus.

Lucinda Badger was waiting for the service on Dundas Street when it happened. She said: “The whole windscreen blew out in one piece and was blown to the right side of the bus, where it smashed all over the pedestrian path. If anyone was waiting to cross the road they would have been hit.

“The bus driver was just as shocked as I was. But he seemed to have seen the lighter side of things after a second bus stopped and that bus driver, laughing at the situation, asked him where his windscreen had gone.”

Police cordoned off the east side of Princes Street at 12.30pm following falling lead from the building above Topshop. Meanwhile South Bridge from High Street to Chambers Street was closed in both directions after masonry fell from the roof of the 17th century Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile.

These incidents had a knock-on effect on the Capital’s public transport with buses being diverted while Edinburgh Trams was forced to cut short its service operating between the airport and the West End of Princes Street.

The city council sent officers to both buildings for an inspection and to make the areas safe before both roads were reopened at 4pm. Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle were also closed as a precaution.

At the Astley Ainslie hospital in the Grange, wind tore some roofing off the building’s Sutherland Ward. Patients in the special elderly orthopaedic unit were transferred to other wards in the hospital.

Fallout from the extreme weather has also sparked tragedy.

A woman in her 50s died after the caravan she was in was blown off a cliff in Galway, while in Northern Ireland a man in his 20s thought to be working on behalf of Northern Ireland Water, was killed by a falling tree, near Newry in County Armagh.

Elsewhere in Scotland, the Clackmannanshire Bridge had restrictions put in place while the Tay Road Bridge was shut to all traffic having recorded winds of nearly 92mph.

Transport and Environment Convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes said: “Storm Ali has been bearing down on Edinburgh today, with gale force winds causing various issues. We have committed extra resources and staff have been hard at work responding to the weather conditions, as well as offering support to the emergency services.”