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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 20:22 GMT
Three dead as storms hit Scotland
Drivers have been warned to be careful
Three people have died on Scotland's roads as the country is battered by hurricane-force winds gusting as strong as 120 miles per hour.

Thousands of people have been left without power and there has been widespread disruption for travellers, with trains, ferries and flights cancelled.

Tayside Police said that one person died and another was seriously injured when a tree fell onto a car at Dunkeld.

The tree came down in the grounds of the Hilton Hotel at 1300 GMT.

'Atrocious conditions'

A spokeswoman for the hotel confirmed that one person had been killed and another, who was seriously injured, had been taken to hospital in Perth.

Strathclyde Police confirmed that a lorry driver was killed after his vehicle overturned at the Dutchhouse roundabout on the A77 at Monkton at 1340 GMT.

Flood warnings have been issued
And police in the Highlands said that one person died after an accident involving a lorry in "atrocious" conditions in the Glencoe area.

"The initial report was that a wagon had been blown over, but I cannot confirm that," said a spokesman for Northern Constabulary.

Meanwhile, Railtrack has suspended all its train services in Scotland, with the exception of the Glasgow to Stirling line and routes in the north.

ScotRail advised that the limited service between Glasgow and Edinburgh begun at 1730 GMT stopped as of 1900 GMT due to a dangerous tree, near the track at Bishopbriggs.

Services will resume when this has been cleared.

Virgin Trains has suspended all its west coast services north of the border because of high winds and damage to overhead power lines.

Strathclyde Fire Brigade said the severe weather had tested their resources to the limit.

Normally, the brigade would deal with 87 incidents on a Monday, but had dealt with 455.

The stormy conditions have been caused by a broad front stretching from the Hebrides down to Cumbria.

Ferry services

Winds of 120mph were recorded on the top of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, in the Scottish Highlands.

Scottish Hydro-Electric said 32,000 homes were left without power, mainly in the Western Isles, Argyll and Tayside.

More than 400 engineers are working on the faults.

Ferry services have been affected, with many Caledonian MacBrayne sailings subject to delay, diversion or cancellation.

Flights to the Northern and Western Isles and the Highlands have also been disrupted, and ScotAirways has suspended services out of Edinburgh.

Dundee roof
Buildings were damaged in Dundee
Further south, Stena Line sailings to and from Belfast have been suspended. SeaCat has halted sailings from Troon to Belfast.

There are restrictions for high-sided vehicles on all the country's main bridges, while the Tay Road Bridge and the Erskine Bridge were both closed to all traffic.

On the railways, a driver was injured when a tree struck a GNER train at the Stanley junction between Pitlochry and Perth.

None of the 120 passengers travelling on the service from Inverness to London Kings Cross was injured.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) issued 11 flood watches across the country and warned that flooding was expected in Inverclyde, the North Ayrshire coast and the island of Arran.

Heavy snow

There have been warnings of possible structural damage to buildings and fears that trees could be uprooted.

As the winds subside they should move to the north west, where there is a risk of heavy snow falls on the hills.

A tree fell on a car at Uphall, in West Lothian. The driver of the car was said to have sustained serious injuries and was taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary's mobile casualty unit.

In Midlothian, council rubbish dumps were closed because of the amount of debris being blown around on them.

Refuse collections have been suspended as a result.

Overturned lorry on the A1 trunk road near Alnwick in Northumberland
Winds caused accidents in the North
The artificial ski slope at Hillend outside Edinburgh has been shut, and work on the new Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh has been suspended.

In Fife, Lochgelly High School has been closed because of debris being blown off the roof.

One child was injured after part of a roof came off Culter Primary school on the outskirts of Aberdeen, and pupils and staff were evacuated from the city's Kincorth Academy after high winds tore off a large section of roofing.

And in Perth, about 30 flood gates have been closed on the River Tay for the first time since the multi-million pound scheme was opened last autumn.

Elsewhere, in Glasgow, one of the city's main shopping malls the St Enoch Centre, closed over an hour early because of safety fears for shoppers.

Northern England was also affected by the winds and many cars stayed off the roads.

Minor accidents

Motoring organisations warned drivers to take extra care.

Nigel Charlesworth of Green Flag said: "We've had calls from customers who have driven off the road, been hit by branches or been in minor accidents and required assistance."

The BBC's weather presenter, Rob McElwee, said that Scotland could suffer some of the worst weather to sweep the UK.

"It's the biggest [storm] I've seen for many a year and it is certainly the deepest this winter."

BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay reports
"The winds were officially hurricane force"
BBC Scotland's Alan Mackay reports
"The west coast is likely to take a sustained battering"
See also:

28 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Storms cause power cuts
27 Jan 02 | UK
Gales whipping up over UK
25 Jan 02 | Scotland
Scotland hit by snow and slush
26 Feb 01 | Scotland
Cold snaps at Scotland yet again
06 Feb 01 | Scotland
Passengers stranded in derailment
06 Feb 01 | Scotland
Sea sickener for ferry passengers
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