Thousands left without power as temperatures drop to -1°C in Shetland

Thousands of homes have been left without power amid a ‘major incident’ declared in Shetland.

Temperatures have plummeted to -1°C as families face a long night trying to stay warm.

As at 5.30pm, SSEN said 2,800 customers still remain off supply in Voe, Whalsay, Brae, Yell and the West Mainland.

Engineers have warned that it may take until the end of the week for power to be fully restored.

Snow and ice caused ‘extensive damage’ to overhead cables and the wintery conditions are making it even harder for engineers to access certain areas.

Keith Brown, lead minister for resilience by , said it was clear that many properties would face days without power.

He said: ‘I would urge people to heed the Police Scotland advice to stay at home, find ways to stay warm, check in on neighbours, friends and family, and listen to the local radio or follow social media for updates.’

The network issues come as temperatures have dropped to record levels across the country, with minus 17.3C recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on Monday into Tuesday, making it the coldest place in the UK for the second night in a row.

Mark Macdonald, head of region at SSEN Distribution, said engineers have been out since first light working to reconnect people across Shetland.

He said: ‘Our teams continue to battle ongoing challenging conditions and extensive damage to our network to restore power to customers, with around 1,000 properties successfully reconnected throughout the course of today.

‘We’d like to thank our customers for their patience as we mobilise additional support from the mainland to assist with the restoration effort, with a 70-strong team on its way to Shetland now travel constraints have eased.’

A Met Office yellow warning of snow and ice for northern Scotland is in place until midday on Friday.

All schools in Shetland were closed on Tuesday due to the weather conditions, while several schools were closed in Aberdeenshire.

Frozen road surfaces are contributing to miserable travel conditions across the country for millions of people.

Strikes by rail workers have forced more people onto the road at a point where local authorities are struggling to keep roads gritted.

The RAC said recovery staff were ‘exceptionally busy’ on Monday, helping more than 7,500 motorists with breakdowns, a 50% increase.

The AA has warned motorists about ‘treacherous’ conditions, saying ‘many smaller suburban and rural roads won’t be cleared’.

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