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10,000 homes still without power


More than 10,000 homes were still without power today after engineers worked through the night to fix storm damage.

Scottish Hydro said huge efforts were made, particularly in Tayside and Central areas of Scotland, to bring the number down from about 29,000 last night - and from about 105,000 at its peak.

The rural north and west of Scotland were worst hit, a spokesman for the company said.

About 6,400 homes were without power in Argyll and the west this morning, while there were 1,250 still to reconnect in the Highlands and 424 in the Western Isles.

Around 830 homes were cut off in the north-east, mainly in Aberdeenshire, and work continues to connect 1,600 homes in Tayside.

A spokesman for Scottish Hydro said: "Access to many parts of the country continues to be an issue in some remote areas. Helicopters continue to be used today to identify damage.

"It is expected that customers will have their electricity supply restored by late this evening although a small number of customers in outlying areas could still be without electricity tomorrow."

Wind speeds up of up 165mph were recorded during the worst of the storm that hit parts of Scotland and northern England this week, bringing down trees and power lines, causing disruption to roads and closing schools.

Strong winds are predicted to return to the UK in the next few days, but not at the force experienced on Thursday.

Scotland will experience wintry showers, sleet and snow, particularly on high ground, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

Wales and southern parts of England are likely to experience gusts of more than 65mph after the weekend.

Winter weather overnight led to poor driving conditions in the north.

Grampian Police said snow was making driving conditions difficult, particularly in Buchan and Strathdon.

The A950 Mintlaw-Peterhead road was covered with snow, while the A97 Huntly-Strathdon road at Glenkindie was passable with extreme care.

The force advised against travelling on the A98 Banff-Portsoy road.

Coastguard Rescue Teams from Kilchoan, Salen and Fort William were asked to assist the NHS with transport, Clyde Coastguard said.

Ski centres received mixed fortunes from the blast of winter weather.

The Nevis Range, which had hoped to open for the weekend, was battered in the storm, derailing lifts and preventing access to the hill. Staff there hope to open next weekend, with more snow expected.

At Glencoe, high winds destroyed huts and knocked out power and phone lines, putting off an early start to snow sports. Wind speeds reached 105mph at 1,200ft during the storm. The centre hopes to open on Sunday.

Cairngorm also suffered power shortages but staff hoped to open narrow runs on the mountain.

Further east, Glenshee reported packed powder snow with some lifts opening. The Lecht also had more powder snow, with plans to open several lifts. PA