Clean-up under way after high winds wreak havoc

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Schools were forced to close, roads were closed and trees brought down during the gale-force winds of Thursday night (December 8).

Services across Aberdeenshire were badly affected by the severe weather, as the council began a major clean-up.

Trees were brought down on many routes across the roads network and debris strewn about, forcing many commuters to alter their route to work. Some roads were cleared overnight into Friday where it was safe to do so, but on Friday morning, crews were still out clearing the remaining debris.

A fallen tree on the A944 Lumsden to Alford road led to diversions towards Insch and a stretch of the A944 between Sauchen and Dunecht was also closed because of numerous large trees brought down by the gales. The A947 Huntly to Strathdon road was also closed and minor routes, including roads at Midmar and Glassel, were cut off by the fallen trees.

To add to the problems, many roads were also affected by icy conditions, making driving hazardous. Road surface temperatures dropped to as low as -3 across the region on Thursday night.

Power cuts across the ‘Shire in communities such as Braemar, Crathie, Lumphanan and Torphins, resulted in the closure of many schools, including Midmar, Monymusk, Torphins and Logie Coldstone. Other schools were affected by school transport which was unable to run due to icy roads.

The area also experienced issues with internet connections and telephone networks, particularly affecting Aboyne and Ballater, but there was disruption across Aberdeenshire throughout the day.

Relatively high winds persisted across the area on Friday, causing issues on the higher ground with drifting snow, and snow gates were closed on the higher routes. Grampian Police received double the calls they would usually receive on Thursday (December 8) and they urged motorists to ensure they and their vehicles were prepared for the conditions, such as making sure they had sufficient fuel and supplies, such as warm clothing, food and water, in case they were delayed.

They also reminded people to make sure their mobile phone was fully charged.

The Met Office has forecast rapidly-strengthening winds and heavy rain for this week, heralding another potentially stormy period, and advised the public to take extra care.

Visit www.trafficscotland.org or www.metoffice.gov.uk for up-to-date information on weather and road conditions.