Cold turkey as blizzards strike
White Christmas: Thousands suffering seasonal snow chaos
The weather was so bad that Shetland Islands Council ordered snow plough drivers to stay at home for their own safety.
Hundreds of engineers battled against atrocious conditions to restore power in the Highlands and Islands and north-east of Scotland. But many families ate a cold Christmas meal amid some of the worst weather in living memory.
Mike Keohane, a spokesman for the power-generating company Hydro Electric, said last night: "Despite the valiant efforts today of our repair teams in Shetland and the Western Isles we are talking about potentially another 24 hours without any electricity.
"It's just horrendous. Our response is clearly that this has been an act of God - a storm which produced winds in excess of 100mph has done very significant damage.
"Clearly what has happened is very regrettable and it is terrible on Christmas Day but power cuts certainly occur two or three times a year.
Hydro Electric covers one quarter of the land mass of Great Britain but only 2 per cent of the population. Many of its customers are supplied with electricity along single cables going up remote glens with small dwellings.
"It just takes one of these lines to go out," Mr Keohane said. "I think those who live in remote locations themselves know that you have to accept the risk at this time of the year. It's not like living in a city where you can switch electricity from four directions."
The blizzard left Shetland's 22,000 residents with a white-out Christmas. All roads outside the county town of Lerwick were blocked, the town and its population of 8,000 were cut off by drifts more than 30ft high. Thousands more homes were snowed in.
More than 20 airline passengers were stranded in a hotel near Sumburgh Airport.
The council convenor Lewis Smith said: "The snow ploughs can't cope. Heavy snow in Shetland is highly unusual and the only snow blowers are at the main airport." Clearing the 500 miles of blocked roads could take several days, he added.
AA Roadwatch said the severe weather made driving conditions hazardous in much of Scotland and northern England and more snow was threatened. "Our Christmas message is that if you don't need to travel - then don't."
Goat owner Anne Louise Macdonald, who crashed her van in the Western Isles blizzard, refused to be rescued unless police also took care of the wild goat. PC John Hier, who rescued Miss Macdonald and her father, Jimmy, said: "We told them the goat would be all right in their van until later. But the gentleman and the lady weren't having any of it."
Revealed: Devastating impact of 'bedroom tax' sees huge leap in demand for emergency hardship handouts for tenants
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
Chloe Johnson death: Family of five-year-old British girl who died in a pool at in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resort 'angry' that more wasn't done to save her
- 1 Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
- 2 Gove’s lesson: spare the comma, spoil the child
- 3 Grace Dent on TV: Extreme Couponing, My Strange Addiction, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 Join Ryanair! See the world! But we'll only pay you for nine months a year
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...