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Three die in Storm Malik as Scotland hunkers down with more gales forecast

© Ross Johnston/Newsline mediaA woman has been killed by a falling tree in Aberdeen during Storm Malik.
A woman has been killed by a falling tree in Aberdeen during Storm Malik.

Three people died in high winds yesterday as Storm Malik battered the country with more gales forecast for tonight.

A woman was killed by a ­falling tree while a lorry driver died on the M74 motorway when his vehicle was reportedly blown across the central reservation into oncoming traffic.

In England, a nine-year-old boy died after being hit by a falling tree. A man was hospitalised following the incident in Winnothdale, Staffordshire.

Winds of more than 100mph were reported in parts of the country, leaving 67,000 homes without power and resulting in widespread disruption to travel just weeks after a previous storm, Arwen, caused chaos.

Police Scotland confirmed a 60-year-old woman was killed by the falling tree in Aberdeen, saying: “Emergency services were called to Deveron Road around 10.30am to reports of a sudden death.”

Pictures showed the large tree uprooted, lying across a pedestrian path. Marek Miszta, owner of the nearby Men’s Shed, said: “The storm is really bad. It’s smaller trees that I saw falling, but they could still hurt somebody because of the speed they’re going at.”

Meanwhile, the M74 was closed in both directions near Lesmahagow after a 32-year-old lorry driver died when his northbound vehicle reportedly crashed through the central barrier and collided with a Land Rover Discovery. It is thought the lorry may have been blown across the carriageway. The car driver was not injured.

The A1 was closed by a fallen tree in the Scottish Borders at Cockburnspath and also between Dunbar and Innerwick due to live electricity cables falling on to the carriageway. Yesterday’s storm was the ­second time in three months thousands of homes were left without power due to high winds.

© Ross Johnston/Newsline media
Storm Malik is causing disruption on roads and railways in Scotland.

After chairing a resilience meeting on the severe weather yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon said people in the north-east would likely be without power over the weekend. The First Minister tweeted: “Power companies working hard to restore supply but many SSEN customers, especially in the north-east may be without power over weekend. Importance of welfare support and good communication stressed.”

In November, Storm Arwen left Emma Hardman, 37, and her family without electricity or internet at Kirkton of Tough, Aberdeenshire, for four days. Yesterday, her power was off again as Storm Malik raged through the district. “We can’t believe this has happened again so soon,” she said. “Everything is off and we are having to drive around to even get an internet signal to speak to anyone.”

In Kelso, hotelier Sandra Hay’s house was affected for a second time in months. “The wind ripped the roof off our garage and trees are down on the roads everywhere,” she said. “It is unreal this has happened so soon after the last storm hit us.”

In Dalkeith, Midlothian, a line of cars was damaged when a wall next to a Lidl store collapsed into a car park. Images from the scene showed heavy blocks on top of an Audi A5, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta.

In Huntly, an unsafe building forced the closure of the A96 in both directions near its junction with the A97.

A plea for help was issued by the Alastrean Care Home in Tarland, Aberdeenshire, which was left without power.

And a gust of 147mph was recorded on Cairngorm summit, according to STV weatherman Sean Batty. Last night, the Met Office upgraded the danger level from yellow “be aware” to amber “be prepared” for Storm Corrie’s impact on the northern half of the country. This begins at 5pm today and ends at 6am on Monday and affects Central, Tayside and Fife, Grampian and the Highlands and Islands.

The remainder of Scotland is under a yellow warning for Corrie, starting at 3pm today and continuing to midday tomorrow.

Power companies said they had been drafting in emergency repair crews from as far away as North Wales and Shropshire to restore supplies to 65,000 customers from Aberdeenshire to the Borders.

Northern Powergrid said its teams were “assessing damage and co-ordinating repairs wherever conditions permit”.

SP Energy Networks, ­responsible for electricity transmission in central and southern Scotland, issued safety advice around potential power cuts. It said customers should keep a battery or wind-up torch to hand and keep mobile phones fully charged, and people should also beware of fallen power lines.

Yesterday fallen trees caused numerous rail services to be cancelled, including Inverness to Thurso, Perth to Aberdeen, Aberdeen to Dundee and Glasgow Queen Street to Oban.

Network Rail Scotland said it would introduce some speed restrictions for safety, and have additional staff equipped with chainsaws across the network to deal with blocked tracks.

Ferries were cancelled for the day by CalMac between Ardrossan and Brodick, Claonaig and Tarbert to Lochranza, Oban to Coll and Tiree and Mallaig to Armadale, Oban and the Small Isles. NorthLink Ferries cancelled all of its sailings on the Pentland Firth.

A small number of flights were affected by the weather, including the Loganair Edinburgh to Kirkwall route and the firm’s two morning flights from Glasgow to Benbecula and Tiree.

Two Scottish Premiership games were postponed, with matches between Aberdeen and St Johnstone and Dundee and St Mirren called off due to safety concerns around the stadiums.

The Championship game between Arbroath and Partick Thistle was also cancelled.

Paul Gunderson, chief ­meteorologist for the Met Office, said: “The impacts of Storm Malik are going to be greatest in Denmark on Sunday, but the track of the storm in the preceding hours means that the UK will be dealt a glancing blow as Malik moves eastwards.”

Today, the country is in line for more severe weather with the Met Office predicting damaging 90mph tempests and “mountainous” seas on Scottish coasts.

ScotRail said train services will be wound down early on Sunday evening.

A statement from the rail operators said: “At 18:00, a blanket speed restriction will take effect across the whole of Scotland. No passenger services will depart their origin stations after this time, ScotRail services still running will be instructed to reduce their speed.”

Managing director Alex Hynes said: “Sorry for the disruption this will cause to our customers, but it’s the right thing to do with a potentially dangerous storm approaching. The safety of our customers and colleagues must come first. Please use the app to check your journey.”