Causeways closed as storms battered Western Isles

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hm_coastguard-logoCoastguard Rescue Teams were called out on Tuesday evening, January 29 2013, to assist Northern Constabulary in closing the causeways between North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay as storm force westerly winds coincided with very high tides.

Using their 4×4 vehicles, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Griminish, Benbecula and Lochboisdale worked with police units to close off flooded roads and causeways until the tide turned and winds died down.

At 8pm the Hebrides Range on the West side of South Uist recorded south westerly winds of 57 mph gusting 84 mph.  The winds were combined with driving rain, coastal sea spray and some roads awash with the tide.

Carol Collins, Watch Manager at Stornoway Coastguard, said: ‘This stormy atlantic weather was well forecast over the last few days with an amber weather alert issued by the Met Office for the area, and a flood alert issued for the Western Isles by SEPA.

‘We are grateful to the volunteer Coastguard Rescue Officers who have helped out.’

The gable end of a house in Leverburgh on Harris collapsed onto a neighbouring property in the high winds at around 10pm and for safety reasons  people were moved out of other neighbouring properties.

The A82 between Glencoe and Tyndrum was closed on Tuesday morning throughinto Wednesday for high-sided vehicles because of the high winds.

A Scottish Hydro spokeswoman said that there had been isolated incidents around Scotland of homes losing electricity supplies because of high winds.

However, engineers were working on reconnecting those customers and their power should be restored by the end of the day.

Ferry services to and from the Western Isles were disrupted, with the Stornoway ferry abandoning her voyage part way across the Minch. The MV Hebrides turned back for Ullapool about 90 minutes after departing.

A Cal Mac spokesman said the ship turned back because of high winds in the open sea.

Other services were cancelled or disrupted into Wednesday.

For more news from the West Highlands and Islands see The Oban Times every Thursday, also available on line at
MV Clansman leaving Oban Bay, January 30 2013. Photo courtesy David MacMillan