Gales havoc

editorial image

GALE force winds swept through Angus on Monday causing an as yet uncalculated amount of damage and disruption.

Some services in the area were worse affected than others. A spokesperson for East Coast trains outlined the disruption: “Yesterday (Monday), services to and from Aberdeen terminated at Dundee, while today we are unable to offer services north of Dundee.

“This was implemented towards late afternoon yesterday, when the winds really started to pick up.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to predict the weather, so at the moment we have to take things on a day by day basis.”

A ScotRail spokesperson said: “There has been a significant recovery of services across Scotland in the wake of high winds damaging overhead power lines and fallen trees blocking tracks. Some disruption may still occur however and customers are advised to check our website for travel details.”

On the other hand, BEAR Scotland, who maintain the A92 Dundee to Arbroath dual carriageway on behalf of Angus council emerged relatively unscathed.

A spokesperson for them said: “There were no weather related incidents on the A92 between Dundee and Arbroath yesterday (Monday). The situation continues to be monitored.”

She added: “Today (Tuesday) there are men out conducting a safety audit, just to make sure. There are no key issues however, and we will be sure to address any as they arise.”

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “Council staff yesterday worked on information supplied by Tayside Police to clear fallen trees and branches from around 20 minor roads throughout Angus.

“On Tuesday morning (May 24), all main roads were open although some minor roads were still affected by trees and debris.”

Tayside Police were inundated with calls on Monday, a spokesperson told the Herald: “Between midnight and 11.59 p.m. on Monday, Tayside Police’s Force Communication Centre recorded almost 1,100 incidents, the vast majority of which were related to the high winds.

“In Angus, there were more than 130 weather-related incident calls to the communication centre.”

“A number of roads and pathways were blocked throughout the Tayside area, although the emergency services, the local authorities and partner agencies worked together to clear trees and falling debris to ensure that debris was cleared and roads were re-opened at the earliest opportunity.”

Damage to Scottish soft fruit crops have been estimated at somewhere in the region of £6 million. This is a significant blow considering the opportunity for a bumper crop afforded by the early start to the growing season this year.

Commercial director of Angus Soft Fruits, John Gray outlined the possible ramifications: “There will be a loss in strawberries with wind rub and I would put the yield loss at 15 to 20 per cent.

“We were looking optimistically at the season only a few days ago, but all that turned on its head within the hour on Monday afternoon.”

Newly elected Angus South MSP, Graeme Dey empathised with the grower’s plight: “For fruit growers in Angus the destruction caused by the gales couldn’t have come at a worse time. “