By Mark McKinlay and Jenni Flett
BELEAGURED Scots once again battled hurricane force winds as winter storms took hold of the country.
In Edinburgh winds topped 100mph, with a gust of 102mph being recorded on the city’s Blackford hill.
Falling masonary proved problematic for residents in the city, withGreat Junction Streetin the Leith area closed due to stonework falling from the old Co-op building.
Police stationed themselves at either end of the street and large chunks of stone could be seen smashed across the pavement and road.
Abdul Jabbar, owner of a convenience store said the building had started to crumble before he arrived at work.
He said: “When I came in at 9:30am today there was already debris on the ground and the police had shut off the road. Of course, any road closure will affect business but I’ve not had any word from the police yet about it.”
A police officer on the scene said: “There is debris from the old co-op building fallen on to the ground and we have currently closed the road until the winds die down in the interests of public safety.”
The capital’s transport network ground to a halt as inbound flights to Edinburgh Airport were cancelled and its access road closed. Outbound flights were disrupted with the terminal building and taxi rank being damaged.
All services in and out of Waverley Station were suspended with no road alternative being made available.
The rest of Scotland’s main train services suffered disruptions, with the majority of Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen connections closed. Arriva Buses also cancelled all of its Scottish services.
Train users were stuck across the country as debris littered the line. One passenger, trapped near Linlithgow told on the internet how their driver had even attempted to move branches from the track to keep his service running.
She wrote: “We got held up just before Linlithgow and there was speculation that a tree had fallen and hit a train in front of us which is why we were stopped.
“We started to move slowly then a second tree fell on to the rails and at this point the train driver got out on to the tracks and moved the second tree off the line in order to keep moving.”
Both the Tay and Forth Bridges were closed after winds of almost 100mph were recorded and Lothian & Borders Police advised against all travel.
Fifepolice also urged road users to take care. Superintendant Alex Duncan said: “The wind is blowing debris onto roads and trees are falling exposing moving traffic to real danger and this weather is to continue for at least a few hours.
“We would also urge the public only to contact the emergency services where absolutely necessary to ensure we can deliver essential services as and when required.”
Hurricane Bawbag was again trending worldwide on Twitter whilst some innovative tweeters decided to christen today’s storm Cyclone Bampot.
Youtube clips have already emerged showing bins and debris flying along Edinburgh’s historic streets.
Echoing the now infamous “Oh my god, Trampoline” video of December’s storm, Sander van den Driesche filmed a large communal bin blowing effortlessly down Leith Walk in Edinburgh while drivers attempt to avoid it. It hits a traffic island and flips before continuing out of sight.
Tourist attractions also suffered the weather’s wrath with the winds closing the zoo to disappointed panda fans. The Botanic Gardens andEdinburghCastlewere closed to visitors due to safety concerns.
The emergency services experienced a busy morning, with the Ambulance Service saying that the bulk of their morning calls were due to weather related emergencies.
Residents of one upmarketEdinburghsuburb woke to find that a 40ft tree had crashed down in their street.
The tree fell sideways along the street, shearing off its roots but missing buildings and parked vehicles.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said, “It’s been blown clean over, you can see the roots. If it had fallen in any other direction it would have crushed a car or hit a house.”
Queensferry was also battered by the storm. One with resident Tom Freeman said: “This morning my 2 year old daughter was screaming in terror at the sound of the wind outside. It’s the worst wind this winter.”
Colin McCredie, star of hit series Taggart, turned real life hero after taking care of an elderly man.
Comparing himself to John Smeaton who talked two terrorists at Glasgowairport, he jokingly wrote on Twitter: “Just saved a pensioner who was blown off his feet, got him into car & took him. Saw another 2 trees blown down. #iamsmeato”
Author Ian Rankin was able to see the lighter side of the storm, noting that, “I’m sure there’s a good reason why one of our chimney pots is lying in the garden…Could be theirs, ours, or have flown in from Gourock…”