A very strong jet stream brought a very stormy spell of weather to Scotland from late November to mid-December. The worst storm of the year was set to swing through on the 8th of December and be stronger than the previous, and would become one of the most talked about weather events of the year, not just in Scotland…
On the morning of the 8th December an extremely deep area of low pressure was centred just off the northwest of the Outer Hebrides. This moved east during the afternoon taking the worst of the winds through a swathe of central and southern Scotland. By midday the storm was sitting over the Isle of Lewis with a central pressure of 957mb! At this time winds were reaching nearly 100mph over the mountains of central Scotland, whilst on Tiree winds had just gusted over 90mph!
By 4pm winds peaked through the central belt with winds over 70mph in Glasgow while Prestwick Airport was reporting gusts of wind in excess of 80mph.
There was widespread travel disruption, power cuts and school closures. The Forth, Tay, Skye and Erskine road bridges were closed.
Network Rail imposed a speed restriction because of the risk of trees and other debris on rail lines. Ferry services were delayed and some flights were cancelled.
Thousands of people were without electricity; an estimated 150,000 homes lost power during the 8th, mainly because of trees coming down on power lines. Engineers were still trying to re-connect about half of these on the 9th.
On the island of Hoy in Orkney, part of a causeway road was washed away, and there were various reports of building damage. Schools across Scotland shut for the day or closed early. The overall cost of disruption to Scotland’s economy has been estimated at around £100 million.
There were reports of damage to buildings and a wind turbine in North Ayrshire struggled to cope in the strong winds and burst into flames.
During the 8th winds reached incredible levels over the Cairngorms with a gust of 165mph recorded, just 8mph off of beating the record wind gust speed in the UK/ Last recorded on the Cairngorm summit back in March 1986.
Even low level stations such as Foula and Fair Isle in Shetland were reporting gusts in excess of 90mph.
The storm trended on Twitter and became a world-wide talking point and was heavily covered by the press and TV in the following days.
The storm was the worst in Scotland since 11-12th January 2005.
The country had yet more stormy times ahead, especially as 2012 was ushered in – you can find more on that storm and other weather events in the STV Weather Histories section.