Bloomberg News

Trains, Flights, Ferries Halted as 100 Mph Winds Pound Scotland

January 03, 2012

Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Edinburgh Airport was closed to incoming flights today as winds of more than 100 miles per hour battered the Scottish capital. Elsewhere in the country, gales forced the closure of the busiest road bridges as well as the cancellation of several train and ferry services.

The access road to the airport was shut for an hour after debris was scattered across it, trapping some passengers in the terminal, said airport spokesman Gordon Robertson. The terminal building and taxi rank also suffered damage, he said.

Train services in and out of the main rail stations in Edinburgh and Glasgow were canceled, forcing east coast services between Edinburgh and London to begin and terminate in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in northeast England.

Most of central Scotland is on red alert, the highest, because of the winds until midday, when it is expected to be downgraded to amber alert, according to the Met Office. The winds had started to ease by 11 a.m., Met Office spokeswoman Helen Chivers said in an e-mailed statement.

The strongest gust in Scotland today was recorded at Blackford Hill on the south side of Edinburgh at 102 miles per hour between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., Chivers said. In Glasgow the wind reached 91 miles per hour.

The Forth Road Bridge, the Tay Bridge, the Erskine Bridge and the Kingston Bridge in the middle of Glasgow were closed to all vehicles, Transport Scotland said on its website. Caledonian MacBrayne, the main ferry operator, reported a number of cancellations and disruption to services on its website.

Scotland’s two main electricity companies, SSE Plc and ScottishPower, a unit of Iberdrola SA, both reported infrastructure damage. Neither company was able to say how many homes were without power.

Today is a public holiday in Scotland, limiting the number of trucks on the road, while bus companies are operating a holiday schedule rather than a full service.

--Editors: Rodney Jefferson, Lukanyo Mnyanda

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Woodifield in Edinburgh at pwoodifield@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net.


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