Weathering the storm-Scotland's extreme weather

Published on Monday, 17 December 2012 09:43
Written by Vicki Mitchem

The Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) met again this morning to discuss the response following the extreme weekend weather.

A highly unusual combination of south easterly gales, low pressure and high tides impacted on the north and east coasts over the weekend. While some ports have been damaged, Ministers heard that there are no reports of serious injury to people onshore. On Friday one crew member aboard a North Sea standby vessel, the Vos Sailor, died after the vessel suffered serious storm damage out at sea.

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse chaired the SGoRR meeting, which also included First Minister Alex Salmond, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Transport Minister Keith Brown.

Responder agencies and local authorities updated Ministers on the storm impact, including some localised flooding, structural damage to harbours and damage to commercial and residential property. Ministers will now visit the communities affected for an update on the damage.

Mr Wheelhouse said:

"The weather factors that combined this weekend were a "perfect storm" – with those in the communities affected describing it as the worst storm in living memory. While some coastal buildings and harbour infrastructure in the North East has been damaged, early indications are that we have weathered a hugely challenging storm well.

"The tragic death of a crew member aboard the Vos Sailor is deeply saddening and our thoughts are with the individuals' family.

"Thankfully due to the quick actions of local emergency responders and resilience preparations in place, we currently have no onshore reports of serious harm or injury.

"Already communities are coming together with volunteers helping in the debris clean up operation, in partnership with local authorities. I thank people for their efforts and this community spirit will be important as the worst effected areas start to return to normality."

Transport Minister Keith Brown will be coordinating the Scottish Government response to the storm impact over the coming days. He said:

"The greatest impact has been in coastal areas of the North East, with harbours such as Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Lossiemouth affected. Richard Lochhead will visit these ports on Monday morning to be updated on the extent of damage, while Ministers have committed to visit the areas and meet with the people worst affected.

"The Scottish Government is working in close partnership with councils and responder agencies and we stand ready to provide assistance in any way we can.

"It is important that damage assessments are carried out as quickly as possible. In particular, we know that harbour integrity is an immediate concern, while we also need to understand the impact on businesses based around the harbours, including fish processors, and the broader fishing industry."

Source: ©Scottish Government

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