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Weather / Nearly 4,000 properties left without power as wintry weather disruption continues

Gritters have been out in force and are back on the roads this morning

A stricken power line at the Sullom Voe junction at around 8pm last night. Photo: Phil Smith

DISRUPTION continues to be felt from the snow and ice – with thousands of homes left without power overnight.

Every school and early learning setting apart from Fair Isle is closed today (Tuesday) following heavy snowfall on Monday. UHI Shetland’s Lerwick and Scalloway college campuses are also closed.

This morning around 3,800 properties are without power supply, including in areas like the North Isles. This was an increase from 2,700 at around 10pm.

This increase is due to a secondary fault identified on the main 33kV network following reconnection yesterday evening. A repair to this line is due to be prioritised today.

Ten teams of electricity engineers are expected to come to Shetland to help the local efforts.

There are also reports of some low lying overhead lines, or instances cables which have fallen to the ground. Anyone who spots downed power lines are asked to keep their distance and report via 105 or SSEN’s Power Track app.

SSEN Distribution expects to give a further update at 11am. A spokesperson said last night: “We’d like to apologise to all customers impacted and reassure them that we are doing all we can to restore power in challenging conditions.

“Our engineers will continue to reconnect supplies into the evening, remotely rerouting the network wherever possible, but remain hampered by blocked roads, communications issues and ongoing adverse weather.”

The police said areas without power may not be able to make outgoing calls including dialling 999 from landlines. Calls from mobile phones should not be affected, they said.

Inspector Sam Greshon said: “With adverse weather expected to continue today consider travelling only if you have to. Leave extra time for essential journeys and take warm clothes, food and water in case of any delays. Take a mobile phone with you and check it is fully charged.”

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A spokesperson for NHS Shetland said: “As the poor winter weather continues, we ask that you please all take as much care as possible. Please do not venture out if not necessary.

“If possible, keep checking in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours and especially those who may have been without power for some time now.

“The Gilbert Bain Hospital is providing services as usual but if you have a healthcare appointment scheduled and will not be able to make it in you can rebook this by calling the relevant department.

“Health centres are still open should you have a scheduled appointment, but we are limiting new appointments to urgent ones only.

“The vaccination clinic is closed and the physio department will have no face to face appointments going ahead today. Some departments may need to contact patients to arrange appointments depending on staffing availability. If you are in any doubt about your appointment, please get in touch.”

Meanwhile many cars were left stationary for hours on the Lang Kames yesterday evening, with the coastguard drafted in to help the lengthy tailback. To compound things many drivers did not have mobile signal in the area.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said the backlog was weather related, with officers in attendance to assist drivers.

There were reports of numerous cars going off the road elsewhere in Shetland, and others left abandoned by their drivers.

Some bus services in Shetland are also affected today, while the Bluemull, Yell Sound and Whalsay ferry services have been reduced to a single vessel.

Council gritters have been out in force in Shetland in an attempt to clear the roads, and are continuing to do so today.

Shetland Telecom said on Tuesday morning it was having “ongoing disruption” due to the weather conditions.

“The power cuts have meant that we are losing power at some sites and we can’t get engineers out due to blocked roads,” the service’s Marvin Smith tweeted. “We will assess the situation at first light.”

The Brae Co-op said it was unable to open this morning due to the condition of the carpark, staffing issues and yesterday’s power cut, but it is now open. In Lerwick the Shetland Home Co will be shut for the day.

The Shetland Museum and Archives will remain closed today.

The Brass Band carol concert tonight in Lerwick Town Hall has been cancelled.

A Met Office weather warning remains in place in Shetland until Thursday.

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