Cold comfort after the storm

Gale-force winds caused chaos across Helensburgh and Lomond today, with schools, homes, roads and public transport all being hit.

And as workers battled to repair the damage weather forecasters issued another warning – of an icy night ahead.

More than 40 schools across Argyll and Bute were closed, including Kilcreggan and Arrochar primaries, and although Hermitage Academy remained open the school buses run by Garelochhead Coaches were cancelled.

Homes and business in Kilcreggan were also hit by a  power cut lasting several hours.

No trains ran from Helensburgh or Gourock all day, and the Kilcreggan ferry did not sail at all although Argyll Ferries’ sailings to Dunoon did resume after the worst of the wind had died down.

A Network Rail spoksperson said: “Our teams will be out overnight to clear the tracks and open as much of the rail network as possible for the start of services tomorrow.”

Commuters travelling by car also faced headaches – the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful was closed for several hours because of high winds, reopened 3pm, and while the A82 north-bound at Arden roundabout was closed all day by fallen trees and debris; it is also blocked further north, between Tarbet and Ardlui, by fallen trees and a landslide.

A section of Sinclair Street in Helensburgh remains closed overnight because of loose slates loose slates, while the town’s police office is  closed because of roof damage – it is expected to reopen tomorrow.

Part of the Ministry of Defence road to Coulport was closed, and many roads were affected by fallen tress and branches.

The Erskine Bridge was closed until 5pm after high winds dislodged a wire in the gantry.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of ice for Strathclyde and Argyll and Bute, saying: “Ice is expected to form from late Thursday afternoon with temperatures across the road network likely to fall below freezing, particularly across parts of south west Scotland.

“Elsewhere within the warning area icy stretches are likely depending on the distribution of cloud breaks.

“A mixture of rain, sleet and snow showers will continue through these areas into Friday morning, the snow mainly over south west Scotland and higher ground where some small accumulations are possible.

“The public should be aware of difficult driving conditions with potential disruption to travel.”