- Major incident declared as roads and rail brought to standstill by snow and flooding
- A9 reopened after drivers stranded in snow are freed
- Around 16,000 properties had no power overnight
- 7,700 remain without power as of 11am on Thursday
- ScotRail train driver left ‘shaken’ after cab destroyed in crash with fallen tree
- Football matches were called off due to weather
- The Scottish Government activated its resilience room in response to the storm
- Some train routes will not reopen until December 29 at the earliest
Storm Gerrit brought major disruption on the travel network and left thousands of homes without power after the country was battered by heavy rain, snow and winds.
Parts of Scotland experienced significant snowfall with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) saying workers had been dealing with wind speeds of 80mph in some coastal areas as they worked to reconnect customers.
High winds and heavy rain and snow damaged electricity networks across Scotland as fallen trees, branches and other debris brought down power lines.
SSEN said power had been restored to 25,000 properties with a further 16,000 homes entering Thursday without power.
An SSEN spokesman said: “The widespread extent of the damage, the ongoing adverse weather conditions, and the challenges accessing faults due to fallen trees, flooding and road closures, together mean that full network restoration will take time.”
“Some customers in rural areas may be off supply for up to 48 hours.”
SSEN said that as of 11am on Thursday, supplies had been restored to some 34,000 customers, with around 7,700 left without power.
Scotland Police confirmed the A9 has fully reopened in both directions and is “passable with care” after snow blocked the road between Drumochter and Dalwhinnie.
Inspector Michelle Burns, from Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit, said: “Conditions for travel in the affected areas may be hazardous and extra caution should be exercised by all road users.
The A90 northbound has also reopened after earlier closures, but southbound lanes at Lochlands, Forfar remain off-limits with local diversions in place.
Scotland’s rail network experienced widespread cancellations and delays with a train driver’s cabin hit by a falling tree.
Aslef Scotland confirmed the driver was uninjured and Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said passengers were also unharmed.
ScotRail suspended multiple train services until further notice, impacting trains travelling while other lines saw their timetables shelved until “a full inspection can be carried out” on the railway network.
Safety checks are under way by Network Rail to reopen routes which had been closed due to the storm.
A number of routes have now reopened but ScotRail confirmed that the Cupar – Dundee and Dumfries – Kilmarnock routes would not open until December 29 at the earliest.
Train operator LNER, which runs services between London and Scotland on the East Coast Main Line, also advised customers not to travel due to the weather.
Customers stranded by the disruption were told to book hotels which they can claim back.
Avanti West Coast, which operates services on the West Coast Main Line, said its route to Scotland is impassable with all services to and from London terminating at Preston.
Those with pre-booked tickets for travel between Preston and either Edinburgh or Glasgow can board trains on Thursday or Friday, the operator said.
In Shetland, the roof of a hotel was blown off after Storm Gerrit saw 80mph winds.
The extreme weather forced the closure of the A970 main road at Holmsgarth in Lerwick after significant damage was caused to The Shetland Hotel.
Wind gusts of 84mph were recorded in Lerwick around midnight and the road reopened at around 9am on Thursday morning.
The Scottish Government said it had activated its resilience room in response to the storm.
Justice Secretary and Minister for Resilience Angela Constance said: “Following a combination of rain, wind and snow across the country, I have chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Room (SGoRR) to ensure that we’re acting as quickly and safely as possible to mitigate the impacts of Storm Gerrit.
“We know that there are areas across the country where people are without power and SSEN are working to restore this where they can. Due to the strong winds, flooding and snow, it is not always safe for SSEN to access areas for repair. Local resilience partnerships are working to put in place welfare support for individuals who may be without power overnight.
“There have already been a number of disruptions across the transport network. It’s good to see that the incident on the A9 has been cleared and the road has now reopened but people should pass with care. Some roads remain closed with operatives working to reopen them as quickly as possible. Some railway lines will remain closed tomorrow morning as they require safety inspections within daylight hours. People should be mindful that tomorrow there will still be areas where surface water continues to cause disruption – so we would urge everyone to plan their journeys in advance, exercise caution on the roads by driving appropriately to the conditions, and follow the latest travel advice at traffic.gov.scot.
“The Scottish Government’s resilience committee will continue to monitor the situation overnight and into tomorrow, and keep Ministers fully updated.
“Advice and information for the public is available at Ready.Scot and the Scottish Government will continue to work with all relevant agencies to closely monitor the storm and its impacts and ensure support is provided to those affected.”
Joanne Maguire Scotrail’s chief operating officer said: “ScotRail and Network Rail teams have been working flat out to keep people moving where possible, but we have faced extreme conditions in different parts of the country which has resulted in significant disruption. The safety of our staff and passengers is our top priority.
“We will be working overnight and early in the morning to inspect the railway and restore services, but disruption is expected to continue into Thursday. Our advice to passengers is to check before travelling via the ScotRail website or app.”
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