Tens of thousands of homes in Scotland are still without power as the country recovers from the damage of Storm Arwen.
The extreme weather claimed three lives as it swept across the UK including the death of an Aberdeenshire driver after his pick-up truck was crushed by a fallen tree on Friday night.
A yellow warning for snow and ice remains in place until mid-morning on Sunday in Scotland with the Met Office forecasting a risk of “wintry showers and icy stretches”.
The weekend’s storm saw transport services thrown into chaos and more than 100,000 homes suffering power cuts throughout Scotland.
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said that despite managing to restore power to 70,000 properties around 45,000 customers were still without electricity as of 11am on Sunday morning.
The main areas affected are Aboyne, Ballater, Braemar, Glenshee, Kemnay, Whitehouse, Mossat, Strathdon and parts of rural Moray.
Some customers in Bonskeid, Coshieville, Errol, Gleneagles, Killin, Maryton, Milnathort, Redgorton and Turriff will also likely remain off supply on Sunday, a spokesperson said.
A ‘rest centre’ has been set up in Ballater at the Victoria and Albert Hall to provide welfare support for customers who remain off supply.
A hot food van is also being provided to struggling locals, serving meals until 10pm and breakfast from 7am.
Mark Rough, director of customer operations at SSEN, said: “Whilst our teams have made good progress in challenging conditions following rhe extreme weather event, given the scale of the damage we want to give notice to the customers and communities who will unfortunately remain off supply overnight so that alternative arrangements can be made.
“We continue to liaise closely with local resilience partners to co-ordinate support, particularly to those on our Priority Service Register, as we enact established resilience plans and provide welfare support to the communities who will remain off supply.
“We would like to apologise once again to all customers who have been impacted by Storm Arwen and thank our customers for their continued patience and understanding. We would also like to thank our resilience partners for supporting a multi-agency response to what has been one of the most significant weather events we have experienced in decades.
“Our teams of engineers and field staff will continue to work into the night and be back out from first light tomorrow to continue repair and restoration efforts as we do all we can to restore power to those who remain off supply as soon as possible.”
Police Scotland chief superintendent George Macdonald said: “I declared a major incident yesterday when it became clear that the area was suffering the worst incidences for many years in terms of power outages and other effects on the people of the area.
“In conjunction with partners, the decision was taken to stand up the Local Resilience Partnership, which is made up of the emergency services, local authorities, utility providers and other bodies, groups and voluntary agencies.
“It is clear that, despite the best efforts of all involved, some parts of the area could take up to another 36 to 48 hours to recover and get back to normal in terms of power and water supplies, and other essential services.
“Therefore, we will be working hard to get back to normal and officers from Police Scotland are providing additional patrols in areas worst affected.
“Throughout the day officers have been working with partners and responding to issues across the road network, and within communities, affected by the adverse weather.
“Motorists are reminded to only travel unless absolutely necessary, checking with their transport provider or Traffic Scotland before setting off. Please allow extra time for your journey, ensure your vehicle is sufficiently fuelled and drive to the road conditions. Consider taking some warm clothes, food and water within your vehicle, in case of delays, and ensure your mobile phone is fully charged.”
On Saturday night, energy firm SSE urged customers who are without power for a second night to ‘order a takeaway’ on them.
The energy company made the offer as tens of thousands of homes faced the prospect of a second night without electricity.
Spokesman Greg Clarke said: “We would encourage customers who are off supply to get themselves a takeaway, keep the receipt and we will look to reimburse them in full as a result of the fact that they are without power.”