Storm Otto's trail of destruction: Thousands of homes without power
18th February 2023

Storm Otto’s trail of destruction: Tens of thousands of homes without power with food vans dispatched to locals and heavy rain and 80mph gale force winds batter the country as Met Office issues warning for snow and ice today

  • More than 42,000 properties in Scotland and 21,000 in England had no power
  • Thousands still remain cut off after the storm as SSEN sends out welfare vans 

Thousands of homes in Scotland and the north of England could be left without power over the weekend as Britain continues to feel the impact of Storm Otto.

Gusts of 75-80mph were recorded across parts of northern Scotland on Friday, while trains and flights were cancelled and roads blocked by overturned lorries in northern England.

More than 42,000 properties were left without power in Scotland alone on Friday, with around 7,600 still cut off as of 9pm on Friday.

The majority of communities without electricity are in Aberdeenshire, where some of the worst weather hit during the storm and almost 100 schools were closed.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said it expected its teams to continue to make significant progress in restoring power to customers into Friday evening, but warned some customers in rural areas may be off supply for more than 48 hours.

A Porsche 911 car was damaged by a fallen tree in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, as a result of Storm Otto

SSEN has sent welfare vans to areas still cut off from supply, which will serve food and drinks from 8am on Saturday.

Vans will be stationed in Cruden Bay, Huntly, Aberchirder, Hatton, Mintlaw, Maud and Kennethmont.

Any SSEN customer who has been off supply for longer than 12 hours will be able to claim up to £30 for food per day. 

Mark Rough, SSEN Operations Director, said on Friday: ‘Despite the extreme weather conditions throughout this morning and ongoing challenges gaining access to faults, our teams have made excellent progress restoring power to those homes impacted by Storm Otto and we would like to thank all customers impacted for their ongoing patience and understanding.

‘We would also like to thank the support we have had from other network operators and contractors from across the country, with additional resources ready to support tomorrow’s restoration works from first light.

‘We continue to work closely with our resilience partners to support our customers as required, particularly those on our Priority Services Register, and would encourage anyone who may need additional support to contact our dedicated teams on the power cut helpline, 105.’

In England, Northern Powergrid said around 21,000 customers lost power, with 92 still affected as of 9.15pm on Friday.

The company said it hoped to get all 92 households back online by 11.30pm. 

Two HGVs were overturned by the high winds on Friday morning on the A1 in north Yorkshire

Both carriages of the A1 between Leeming and Catterick in North Yorkshire were closed after two lorries toppled over

Sand storms were seen on beaches in northern England on Friday morning

High winds damaged the roof at Burnside Primary School, Carnoustie in Angus, Scotland

Pictures from passengers stuck on board a train sent MailOnline photographs of a trampoline on the tracks at New Pudsey, near Leeds

It was a choppy morning on Friday for many communities on the Scottish coastline

Storm Otto has caused large waves around Britain’s coastline with waves battering towns such as Blackpool (pictured)

Andy Bilclough, Director of Field Operations, said: ‘Storm Otto has been a challenging one, but we have restored power to all but 92 of our customers, that’s 99.7 percent of those affected, and my fantastic field teams are determined to get everyone’s power back on tonight. 

‘North Yorkshire has been the worst hit, and our efforts have been hampered throughout the day due to the closure of the A1, but we have engineers deployed to all of the remaining faults. 

‘Unless we run into some unforeseen issues, we should have all supplies restored [on Friday].’ 

A yellow warning for snow and ice was in place for central parts of Scotland until 9am on Saturday, while the Met Office expected the heaviest rainfall by 7am to be around Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend County Borough in south Wales – between four and eight millimetres. 

The Met Office has said that Scotland will see heavier rain into Saturday morning, with snow on the hills north of the central belt.

However, the weather will be mild across southern and central areas of the UK.

Rain and snow in Scotland is expected to ease, with sunny spells further south in the afternoon.

On Friday morning, a man was taken to hospital in a serious condition after a tree fell on a street in Sheffield.

South Yorkshire Police officers were called to Endcliffe Vale Road at 8.50am.

A spokesperson said: ‘A man in his 50s was injured and was taken to hospital in serious condition. A property nearby was also damaged and structural engineers are at the scene.’

Flights had to be cancelled or diverted at Leeds Bradford Airport early on Friday, with some aircraft struggling to land in the gusty conditions across the north of the UK.

A rainbow over Dumbarton Castle during a calm moment of the storm

A tree toppled on to a Porsche on Granby Road in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, causing anxiety for drivers in the area.

Charlie Lowe, a 29-year-old cake business owner, photographed the crushed Porsche on her way to work and said: ‘I felt shocked and I think it’s nerve-wracking.

‘I felt a bit nervous driving around Harrogate as a result.’

Meanwhile a trampoline caused chaos at New Pudsey, near Leeds, after it blew onto train tracks directly in front of a travelling train. 

A passenger on the train told MailOnline her journey to work in Leeds was disrupted after the trampoline appeared ‘directly in front’ of them after initially being blown into overhead wires.

Kelsea Amber said her journey to work in Leeds had been delayed by 90 minutes and she had no idea when she would arrive in the city. 

Pictures show part of the metal structure, lying warped on the track from a train window.

The storm, the first to be named this winter, was labelled Otto by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

It is the first named storm to directly affect the UK this storm-naming season, which began in September.

The first storm to be named by the Met Office, or the Irish and Dutch weather services, this season will still be Storm Antoni, in accordance with the 2022/23 storm name list.

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