Storm Ali batters Berwickshire

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It could be a long winter ahead, if, as has been suggested, Storm Ali is just the first of many to hit our shores.

Berwickshire bore the brunt with wind speeds of up to 86mph recorded across the Scottish Borders last Wednesday.

The ferocity with which it hit was undoubtedly much stronger than was originally expected, causing the Met Office to upgrade their original yellow weather warning to an amber alert late on Tuesday evening.

The severity of the wind in particular felled many trees and caused structural damage to properties.

The transport network ground to a halt at times with rail lines being severely affected with trees on the tracks, forcing services to grind to a halt.

The Scottish Borders Council issued an urgent email warning parents that school transport would be affected by the weather, but that no child would be sent home unless the school could be assured that the route was safe. In cases where buses were unable to reach destinations safely, all children were kept in school until parents could make alternative arrangements.

A number of villages in the more rural parts of the county were hit by power cuts as Scottish Power engineers struggled to not only reach the affected lines, but were then restricted in climbing poles to repair damage until such time as the winds abated.

Scottish Borders Council chief executive Tracey Logan said: “The Met Office initially predicted the strongest winds to hit the Borders by mid-morning but instead it arrived later, causing significant disruption.

“The strongest winds recorded was 86mph in the western side of the Borders, which shows the extreme conditions we faced.

“The conditions did ease a little during the evening but we closely monitored the situation with the emergency bunker remaining open throughout the Amber Warning period.”