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A can bank in the sea in Uyeasound in Unst. Photo: Steven Spence

Friday, 8 December:

ALL ferry services to and from Shetland have been cancelled for a second day in a row due to strong winds.

Operator Serco NorthLink hopes its schedule will go back to normal from Saturday onwards.

It’s been bottle bank bedlam in Unst, with local Steven Spence spotting two upturned at Baltasound and a can bank in the sea in Uyeasound.

Damage has been caused to the roof of the North Mainland Leisure Centre. An SIC spokesman said: “The surrounding area is currently cordoned off for safety. Efforts will be made on Monday to access the roof using scaffolding and further assess damage.

“On Monday morning, parents dropping off any children to the nursery or primary departments at Brae High School are asked to avoid using the front door of the building. Pupils for the nursery and primary departments should enter and leave the school using the back door by the PE department. The swimming pool at the North Mainland Leisure Centre will be closed until further notice.”

Inter-island ferry services have been affected through the day. For up to date information, visit here.

All bus services are running to timetable again, apart from service 24 due to the suspension of the Yell and Bluemull Sound ferries.

The road into Urafirth, however, is still closed after the front of a building collapsed on Thursday afternoon (pictured above).

Around 500 households in Shetland, Orkney and Caitness are still without power.

SSEN said on Thursday night they had recorded a top wind speed of 102 mph at the Lerwick power station.

The Sumburgh based coastguard helicopter was tasked on Friday afternoon to take two electricity engineers to the remote Orkney island of North Ronaldsay.

The fire service, meanwhile, attended to reports of a garden shed being demolished by the wind in Whalsay at around 6.30pm on Thursday, with crew securing the shed.

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The police said in addition to attending the Urafirth incident it also had a few calls relating to property damage and debris on the roads.

Unst Health Centre closed its doors early at 11.30am on Friday due to ongoing power problems.

Thursday, 7 December:

SHETLAND Islands Council is advising islanders to stay indoors and avoid driving if at all possible as the north westerly gale sweeps across the isles.

The road into Urafirth was blocked early on Thursday evening following structural damage to a building.

Police chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch said police, fire and the SIC’s roads department were “attending to a number of reports of property damage and obstruction on public roads”.

He also warned that flying debris was being thrown on roads, including in Lerwick.

At the height of the storm more than 3,000 customers across the isles had lost their power supplies (including Shetland News). A spokeswoman for SSEN said a short while ago (7.15pm) that engineers had managed to reconnect around 2,000 households and businesses.

She said that 1,300 customers were still without electricity, and while engineers were working flat out to reconnect as many people as possible, there would be some who would be off overnight. She said the utility was apologising for the inconvenience.

All inter-island ferry services have been suspended, as have all the bus services across the isles apart from the 5.15pm service from Lerwick to Sumburgh.

A Met Office amber alert for winds gusting up to 90 miles per hour is in place. The severe gales will be followed by snow and ice on Friday and Saturday.

There are also several alerts for coastal flooding in place. More details can be found here.

The islands have already experienced widespread power cuts (including at Shetland News) immediately after the storm hit this afternoon, with around around 3,000 customers affected.

All of Shetland’s schools and nurseries closed at 1pm on Thursday. They will stay closed until Monday. Shetland College and the NAFC marine Centre are also closed.

Serco NorthLink’s passenger services to and from Shetland have been cancelled.

Meanwhile the Faroese passenger ferry Norrona turned back after sailing past Shetland heading for Hirsthals in Denmark and is currently sheltering off Whalsay.

Flights arriving and departing at Sumburgh Airport were cancelled from mid afternoon.

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