Homes without electricity in Shetland as temperature hits new low

Around 3,800 homes are without power in Shetland after the islands were hit by heavy snowfall.

Areas affected include Voe and Brae in the north of the mainland as well as the islands of Yell, Unst and Whalsay.

The majority of outages were caused by snow and ice stuck to overhead power lines, causing them to fail.

Meanwhile, the temperature dropped to -17.3C in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on the coldest night of the year so far.

In Shetland, wintry conditions also caused problems on the roads, with around 40 vehicles stranded on a hill in Weisdale on Monday afternoon.

It took around seven hours to move them all and allow sandblasters from the Shetland Islands Council to treat the surface.

All schools and early learning facilities on the islands are closed except for those on Fair Isle.

Several schools in the Highland Council area are also closed due to weather conditions.

Graeme Keddie of SSE Networks told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that the Shetland network was damaged by severe weather on Monday afternoon and evening.

“We have reconnected around 2,000 homes across Shetland but around 3,800 remain without power. Some of these were connected last night but further damage has been reported.” he said.

“Our teams are doing all they can to restore power as quickly as possible. At first light, our teams will be on the ground assessing the damage and looking to mobilize operations as quickly as possible.”

A Met Office yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place for northern Scotland, Shetland and Orkney until 12:00 p.m. Thursday.

Overnight a temperature of -15C was recorded at Balmoral, -14C at Aviemore, -13C at Dalwhinne and at Fyvie Castle it was -12C.

Forecasters say snow showers and icy surfaces will disrupt travel.

Neil Hutchison, from the Shetland Islands Council’s roads department, said there was not too much snow overnight after heavy falls on Monday afternoon.

“The first thing we’re going to do today is clear the main roads,” he said.

“It may take a bit of time given the amount of snow on them. And then, of course, we head to the back roads – it will be much later in the day I’m afraid.

“I think the main problem is that there are a lot of vehicles stuck in various places on the road network and that means other vehicles haven’t been able to get through.

“Once we got those clearances people were able to move on. Unfortunately it took a while – it took until early evening in some places”

On Monday, Shetland Police asked people to avoid traveling unless absolutely necessary.

More than 20 volunteers have been called up from coastguard teams based in Lerwick, Walls, Sumburgh and Hillswick.

They have rescued a woman with learning difficulties after her taxi got stuck on the main A970 road between Lerwick and the North East of the Continent.

They also assisted a number of vulnerable households that had lost electricity.

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