Scotland has been battered by Storm Isha, the ninth named storm of the season, which brought gusts of up to 80mph (128km/h) and torrential rain across the country. The Met Office issued an amber warning for high winds, which expired at 6am on Monday, and a yellow warning for rain, which remains in place until noon.
Travel disruption and power cuts
The storm caused widespread travel disruption and power cuts, affecting rail, road, ferry and air services. Network Rail said it had suspended all train services in Scotland until around midday, after dozens of lines were blocked by fallen trees, debris and flooding. Hundreds of engineers were deployed to clear and repair the tracks.
Some of the incidents reported by Network Rail included:
- A garden shed blown onto the line at Bellgrove station in Glasgow
- A small fire caused by a tree falling on overhead wires in Gartcosh, in Cumbernauld
- At least 10 trees falling on the line between Garrowhill and Easterhouse near Glasgow, damaging overhead lines
- A wall and fence blown onto the line at Glasgow Queen Street
- The River Tay breaching safety limits at the Dalguise Viaduct on the Highland Mainline, forcing the overnight security guard to abandon the site
Several ferry services were also cancelled or delayed due to the stormy conditions, while some flights were affected by high winds at airports. Drivers were advised to avoid unnecessary travel and to be aware of the risk of flooding, debris and fallen branches on the roads.
More than 10,000 homes and businesses were left without power overnight, as the storm damaged electricity networks. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said it had restored power to more than 9,000 customers by Monday morning, and was working to reconnect the remaining 1,000.
Risk to life and property
The Met Office warned that the storm posed a risk to life and property, especially in exposed coastal areas in the north of Scotland, where large waves and flying debris could cause injuries or damage. People were urged to stay away from the seafront and to secure any loose items in their gardens or balconies.
The amber warning, which covered most of Scotland, said: “Injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible, as well as some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs. Longer journey times and cancellations are likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected. Some roads and bridges may close. Power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.”
The yellow warning for rain, which covers the whole of the UK, said: “Heavy rain associated with Storm Isha is expected to affect parts of the UK during Sunday night and Monday. This will bring the risk of flooding and travel disruption in places. Some communities may be cut off by flooded roads. Possible power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses.”
The Met Office said the storm was “relatively rare” for the whole of the country to be affected by such severe weather warnings. It said the storm was caused by a deep area of low pressure that moved across the Atlantic and intensified near the UK.
The storm is expected to gradually weaken and move away from the UK on Monday, but the weather will remain unsettled for the rest of the week, with further spells of rain and wind. Temperatures will also drop, bringing the risk of snow and ice in some areas.
The latest winter storm follows a week of disruption caused by snow in north and north-east Scotland. More than 200 Highland Council schools were closed, along with more than 60 in Aberdeenshire and almost 20 in Moray. All schools in Shetland were closed since Thursday.