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A Stormy New Year

Storm-force winds caused havoc across Wigtownshire during the New Year — leaving hundreds of people celebrating in the cold and dark.

Gusts of up to 70 mph brought down electricity and telephone lines while fallen trees blocked roads.

Passengers were left stranded at Stranraer and Cairnryan port as ferries were delayed or cancelled due to rough seas.

But one of the worst hit areas was Cairnryan village, which had its  electricity cut for nearly twenty four hours. Power went off at Hogmanay at 4pm and did not come back on until 3pm the next day, during which time fridges and freezers defrosted and room temperatures plummeted.

Tracy Davidson, resident and member of Cairnryan Community Council said:

"Some people lost food for their New Year because of the length of time the electricity was off and it defrosted in the freezer.

"And people with electric central heating were freezing, and elderly people had to stay in bed.

"What I think we should be calling for is to have the same electric power system as the P&O port as it seemed to not to be affected and  was lit up like the Blackpool illuminations."

Concerned for the welfare of elderly people, Councillor Fred Murray called the council's emergency planning department. Said Mr Murray:

"Scottish Power was not giving us a guarantee as to when the power would be back on.

"And people were beginning to get concerned for the welfare of the elderly people who had electric storage radiators, and had not prepared for a power cut.

"So I called emergency planners in the bunker in Dumfries and asked to put plans into motion so we could organise a place where there was heating, lighting and cooking facilities.

"Cairnryan Hall would have been used, powered by a generator. But then the power came on and we did not go ahead with it."

Copyright 1999 STI Small Towns InitiativeTop of Page