As predicted the ‘Scotstorm’ which battered into the Western Isles brought frightening winds peaking at 113mph causing damage to properties and power outages across the region during the night.
The Gazette’s weather correspondent Eddy Graham, who was keeping a close eye on the weather system tweeted in the early hours of this morning (Friday) that Stornoway was officially experiencing a “full hurricane” with windspeeds at 79mph, gusting to 106mph.
A short time later he added: “the peak has passed (pressure is rising), but still several hours yet of the scotstorm.”
A report by Scottish and Southern Energy this morning revealed that the severe winds had disrupted the electricity network.
They said: “Technical staff are working in extremely challenging and potentially dangerous conditions to restore supply to 73,000 customers.
The latest report from the company at 12 noon revealed that 8,435 customers in the Western Isles were still off supply.
But the electricity supplier added: “Since first light, supply has been restored to 24,000 customers as severe weather continues to batter much of northern and western Scotland.
“A thousand technical and support staff were mobilised ahead of the storm, and some despatched to rural areas where the storm was likely to cause the most damage.
“Staff from SHEPD’s sister company in England have also been working in Scotland to restore supplies.
“Technical staff numbers have been further bolstered with the hiring of external contractors.”
SHEPD’s Head of Operations, Rodney Grubb, apologised for the disruption, saying: “We are doing everything we possibly can to restore our customers’ supplies.
“We apologise for the disruption and would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding.”
The Hebridean Housing Partnership have had reports of damage to a significant number of houses with 150 reports logged.
They said: “Most of these are relatively minor involving the loss of a small number of slates or tiles.
“A small number are more serious and these are being prioritised for action by our contractors.
“We also have operatives on site checking all our schemes and identifying damage. We are also carrying visits to check on tenants welfare where appropriate and particularly where damage is more extensive.
“We had contingency plans in place and these are now being implemented. All available resources from our contract FES FM Ltd and their sub-contractors have been mobilised and will be working over the next few days to repair the damage.
“We will keep tenants informed of progress via our website and on twitter.”
In regards to travel disruption the MV Isle of Lewis is due to depart Ullapool at 12.00hrs today (Friday). However the 2pm sailing from Stornoway and the 5.30pm from Ullapool are cancelled due to adverse weather.
All sailings on Saturday, January 10th and Sunday, January 11th are on amber alert and may be liable to disruption/ cancellation at short notice.