26 November 2021

Storm Arwen updates and useful links


This service is currently available from 7am to 10pm daily.

UPDATE 6pm on 29.11.21

A number of additional Aberdeenshire schools and facilities are being stood up to provide hot food and welfare facilities to those who need it. So far this evening, meals and facilities are available at the following locations until 8pm:

• Alford Academy
• Aboyne Academy
• Crimmond School
• New Deer School
• Hatton Cruden School
• Auchnagatt School
• Boddam School
• Westhill Primary

UPDATE 2.40pm on 29.11.21 - Aberdeenshire's schools update 

Assessment of all 170 Aberdeenshire schools is ongoing to assess storm damage, access routes, and check if power, heating and water supplies are operational. The priority is to ensure buildings are safe before pupils and staff are welcomed back.  
So far, it's a mixed picture across Aberdeenshire. Building inspectors have been diverted from other projects to lend a hand with schools and council housing too, and in many cases janitorial teams are on the ground as well. In some of the most rural areas, access remains an issue due to the wintery conditions, in others work is underway to remove fallen trees. Roads and infrastructure colleagues advise that trees are continuing to fall, adding pressure to teams that are already extremely busy – they are working with country estates teams and private land owners to help alleviate this.

Repairs are in progress where needed. Another concern is to ensure emergency lighting and power arrangements will be operational in schools when they re-open – batteries are being re-charged where necessary. Availability of staff in some areas is a concern, and the focus is on wellbeing.  

Director of Education and Children's Services, Laurence Findlay explains: "We're receiving mixed feedback right across the board. Where we do have facilities that can re-open, like our Live Life Aberdeenshire centres, the priority is on delivering heat, hot water, food and charging facilities to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. For some communities, it will feel that the storm has very much passed but for now we have to prioritise safety and supporting those in need." 

Children's services social work teams are making contact with families known to them and ensuring those who need it most are given the support they need. Duty services remain open and families can get in touch with local offices: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/children-and-families-team-offices/

Those who are entitled to statutory free school meals will receive an additional payment this week to make up for the two days missed in school. Additionally, the storm assistance centre line remains open until 10pm tonight: 08081963384 and we would urge those who are still struggling with power to enjoy free meals available in many communities.

 UPDATE 11.30AM 29.11.21

Are you or is someone you know affected by Storm Arwen? Need a hot shower, access to WiFi or mobile phone/device charging?

While Live Life Aberdeenshire leisure facilities remain closed for normal use today and tomorrow (Mon, Nov 19 and Tue, Nov 30), we are opening to allow members of the public access to their amenities.

The following venues are now available for access to showers, WiFi and charging:

Deveron Community and Sports Centre
Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre
Peterhead Leisure and Community Centre
Ellon Academy Community Campus
Turriff Swimming Pool
Inverurie Community Campus
Westhill Pool
Portlethen Pool (from 4pm)
Stonehaven Leisure Centre
Huntly Pool

UPDATE 11PM 28-11-21

The picture is changing quite dramatically and despite continuing efforts, it is now expected that it may take several days to have all our communities reconnected by SSEN. 
Priority locations are being shared by us with SSEN and the company is sourcing additional generators to facilitate the provision of welfare and care to our most vulnerable communities at this time. Large generators are en-route to Deeside which, if they can be connected, will help bring some limited power to several communities.
Work is also underway to source additional food trucks to be distributed across our communities in Aberdeenshire. As power is restored in the areas of Aberdeenshire where the food trucks are currently located, they will be relocated to serve other areas of Aberdeenshire still without power.
SSEN has confirmed that they will also reimburse members of the public in areas without power who buy hot food and drinks from local restaurants, cafes and hot food takeaways. Further detail is available on SSEN’s social media platforms.
They have brought in additional catering vans to these areas:
• Aboyne – The Green - Fish and Chips 
• Cruden Bay – Main Street – Catering 
• Strichen – Strichen Park – Catering
• Keith – Fish and Chips 
• Kintore – Catering 
• Tarland – Catering 
• Ballater – Fish and Chips

An ongoing concern to all partners is the vulnerability of certain people within our communities, and the Local Resilience Partnership is doing all it can to provide support. However we would encourage communities to continue to keep an eye on vulnerable and elderly neighbours who may be requiring additional assistance.
A rest centre has been set up in Ballater due to the ongoing lack of power in parts of Royal Deeside and as a priority we are looking to set up additional rest centres in the following communities:
• Braemar
• Alford
• Kemnay
• Deeside
• Donside
• Hatton
• Huntly 
• Lumsden

However, these cannot operate without power, so the key message remains at present for people to stay at home and avoid travelling on the roads network.
Diesel has now been provided for back-up generators in our community hospitals and care homes in Aberdeenshire. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide more diesel if necessary. Additional staff have been mobilised to provide care and support in our sheltered housing and very sheltered housing complexes.
Scottish Water distributed bottled water across Aberdeenshire last night. They have engineers on site utilising generators to reinstate water supplies until mains power is restored. Work is underway to reinstate the water supply across the region and provide more bottled water during the course of the day with priority currently being the Huntly area.
In terms of Scottish Water issues you can check for local updates here:  https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/In-Your-Area/Latest-In-Your-Area 
The Education and Children’s Services Leadership Team agreed that all schools will be closed for pupils and staff tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday. The rationale behind the decision was that the extent of the damage across all schools is not yet fully known and won’t be known until tomorrow when the decision can be reviewed. 
It would be unsafe for us to assume which schools haven’t been affected particularly given the ongoing challenges around power outages, heating, damage, road conditions etc. When we have staff on the ground tomorrow morning, we will have a far better picture of the impact on the school estate. 
We appreciate the uncertainly must be challenging for communities but please be assured that every effort is being made to move this situation on as safely and as quickly as possible. We will provide an update tomorrow in terms of provision for remote learning and what facilities may be used to support communities in the various clusters – ie provision of hot food/refreshments.
Waste Services
All Household Recycling Centres will remain closed on Monday and staff will be made available to support other services. We anticipate our household waste collections will proceed as normal tomorrow, but residents should anticipate some disruption.
Health and Social Care Partnership
The Partnership has cancelled all learning disability day centre services from Monday and all Covid vaccination centres are also closed on Monday (see re-booking link below).

All lateral flow testing for those with Covid and our Collect Only sites scheduled for Monday are cancelled.

in terms of GPs, the decision will lie with the practice themselves if they have power and water and can continue to support their local community.
Repair teams will be reprioritised to focus on emergency repairs meantime. There will continue to be a focus on homelessness to ensure anyone requiring support is re-housed. Tenancy Services are being diverted from normal work to contact all residents to ensure they are okay and will be putting resources into sheltered housing to ensure that we have appropriate cover. 
Our advice to all our tenants and housing association residents is to remain in their homes.
If residents need an urgent social care service outside office hours they should call us on 03456 081206.
Live Life Aberdeenshire
As a result of the ongoing disruption caused by Storm Arwen the decision has been taken to close all Live Life Aberdeenshire facilities to the public on Monday and Tuesday. Live Life Aberdeenshire staff may be asked to once again support the wider Council and Health & Social Care teams to ensure safety and wellbeing of Aberdeenshire residents. They will be asked to keep in contact with line managers to understand the situation within their usual place of work.
Service Points/Helpline
It is our intention to open our Service Points tomorrow (Monday) provided they have power and water. 
A HAC Storm Arwen - 0808 1963384 - is to be stood up from 9am Monday, November 29th for an initial period of 48 hours before being reviewed. Opening hours 9am-10pm Monday & 7am-10pm thereafter.
Passenger transport
All school transportation has been cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. All social care transport, A2B dial-a-bus services and Ready2Go demand responsive transport have been cancelled on Monday. This will help free up both vehicles and drivers in the event of a requirement to transport residents to rest centres and other support services. Public bus services on the commercial network will be decided by the operators.
We would urge people not to travel unless their journey is essential. 
If you must head out, allow extra time for your journey, ensure your vehicle is sufficiently fuelled and drive to the road conditions. Consider taking some warm clothes, food and water within your vehicle, in case of delays, and ensure your mobile phone is fully charged.
There is a Met Office yellow warning for ice until 11am tomorrow morning (Mon) and our gritters are already out treating routes this afternoon and are scheduled to go out again tomorrow from 5.30am.
Work continues to clear windblown debris from the road network as well as carry out winter maintenance. This does not mean that the road network is safe to travel on given the perseverance of wintry weather across Aberdeenshire and increasing instances of delayed tree fall as a result of the storm. Drivers should continue to exercise caution and only undertake necessary journeys.
While we have continued to remove fallen trees across our roads network today, some areas of the rural network do remain unpassable. Our Roads teams will be inspecting the network tomorrow and the felling will proceed in the days to come. Please be advised that the snowgates at Glenshee and The Lecht remain closed as does the route over the Cairn ‘o Mount.
Useful links for updates and advice:  

Aberdeenshire Council news centre
For those without power, we will continue to refer them to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) by calling 105 for updates on power cuts and welfare support available or check PowerTrack at https://www.ssen.co.uk/Home/ 
Met Office 
SEPA Floodline
Trees down, lights out and road faults
Rebooking vaccinations
Ready Scotland

UPDATE 7PM - 28.11.21

Due to the ongoing issues associated with the aftermath of Storm Arwen, in the interests of safety, certain activities are going to be stood down tomorrow.

Schools - All our schools will be closed to pupils and staff tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday. Further information around remote learning will be communicated in the morning.

Vaccinations - All vaccination centres will be closed on Monday. Re-book online at https://www.nhsinform.scot/flu-vaccine/invitations-and-appointments/book-a-flu-or-coronavirus-booster-vaccination/?fbclid=IwAR0KYrmQWjoxO9wrgSrNIumVC612uxfEgcZwxxjubdxnAfd4_196FF-zqGM

Waste services - All our Household Recycling Centres will remain closed on Monday. We anticipate our household waste collections will proceed as normal tomorrow but residents should anticipate some disruption.

Further updates will appear this evening.

UPDATE: 3PM On behalf of Police Scotland

Police Scotland is continuing to work with partners in response to Storm Arwen and has advised that it will take some time for the area to recover from the impact.

Chief Superintendent George Macdonald said: "I declared a major incident yesterday when it became clear that the area was suffering the worst incidences for many years in terms of power outages and other effects on the people of the area. In conjunction with partners, the decision was taken to stand up the Local Resilience Partnership, which is made up of the emergency services, local authorities, utility providers and other bodies, groups and voluntary agencies.

"It is clear that, despite the best efforts of all involved, some parts of the area could take up to another 36 to 48 hours to recover and get back to normal in terms of power and water supplies, and other essential services.

"Therefore, we will be working hard to get back to normal and officers from Police Scotland are providing additional patrols in areas worst affected.

"Throughout the day officers have been working with partners and responding to issues across the road network, and within communities, affected by the adverse weather.

"Motorists are reminded to only travel unless absolutely necessary, checking with their transport provider or Traffic Scotland before setting off. Please allow extra time for your journey, ensure your vehicle is sufficiently fuelled and drive to the road conditions. Consider taking some warm clothes, food and water within your vehicle, in case of delays, and ensure your mobile phone is fully charged."

Those without power, please refer to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) on 105 who can provide relevant updates on power cuts and welfare support available.

Fallen trees or debris on the road should be reported to your local council.

While the Met Office yellow warning for ice last night affecting much of Northern and Eastern Scotland has now expired, they advise that with the combination of today’s showers in the east and the low temperatures, it is likely that a Yellow Warning for Ice will be issued for parts of eastern Scotland for tonight. Please check the weather in your area via the Met Office.

An ongoing concern to all partners is the vulnerability of certain people within our communities, and the partnership is doing all it can to provide support, but we would encourage communities to look out for those who they believe may be requiring additional support.
In an emergency, always dial 999.

Meanwhile, SSEN are bringing in additional catering vans to these areas:

Aboyne – The Green  - Fish and Chips – en route due 2.00pm
Cruden Bay – Main Street – Catering – en route due 2.00pm
Strichen – Strichen Park – Catering – in-situ
Keith – Fish and Chips – in situ
Kintore – Catering – in situ
Tarland – Catering – in situ
Ballater – Fish and Chips – in situ

In terms of Scottish Water issues please check for local updates here:  https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/In-Your-Area/Latest-In-Your-Area

Next update at around 4.30pm

UPDATE: 12PM (28.11.2021) - SSEN is advising residents in Aberdeenshire who remain without power, particularly those living in rural communities, to make alternative arrangements where possible as it cannot guarantee power will be restored today (Sunday, November 28).

The following welfare facilities have been established to support customers who remain off supply, with additional welfare facilities to be deployed throughout the course of today to areas which continue to be impacted. 

•Killin, Main Street near the Town Hall
•Kirriemuir, near Bon Scott Statue
•Cullen, beach front
•Keith, Curry Contractors Yard (outskirts of Keith)
•Kintore, in the square           
•Turriff, Tesco car park
•Tarland, in the square       

For more information please visit: http://news.ssen.co.uk/news/all-articles/2021/november/storm-arwen-red-alert/

UPDATE: 5PM (27.11.2021) - Whilst progress has been made in restoring power there are still many communities without power due to Storm Arwin.

According to SSEN the main affected areas are Aboyne, Ballater, Braemar, Strathdon, Kemnay, Boddam, Hatton, Marnoch, Limehillocks, Elgin, Callander, Dalrulzion and St Fillans. 

Due to the extent of damage caused on both the high voltage and low voltage networks, with multiple instances of damage in some places, a significant number of customers will remain off supply overnight. SSEN expects to have an overview of the likely areas affected later today and is working closely with local resilience partners to help coordinate its response by activating established resilience plans and provide support to customers affected.

With lines busy, SSEN is encouraging customers impacted to only phone its Customer Contact Centre if it is an emergency or if they need extra help, to keep the line clear for vulnerable customers who may need extra support.

Welfare facilities have been deployed to the following key areas affected to offer customers hot food and drinks whilst they remain off supply:

•Aberfeldy Village Hall
•Carnoustie Leisure Centre
•Cullen, beach front
•Keith, Curry Contractors Yard (outskirts of Keith)
•Kintore, in the square           
•Tarland, in the square
•Turriff, Tesco car park    

For more information please visit http://news.ssen.co.uk/news/all-articles/2021/november/storm-arwen-red-alert/

Meanwhile, Police Scotland has reminded motorists to only take essential journeys. Anyone venturing out is encouraged to check Traffic Scotland or with their transport provider before setting off Please allow extra time for your journey, ensure your vehicle is sufficiently fuelled and drive to the road conditions. Consider taking some warm clothes, food and water within your vehicle, in case of delays, and ensure your mobile phone is fully charged.

UPDATE: 2PM (27.11.2021) - Many properties across Aberdeenshire remain without power. SSEN hope to restore power by 10pm at the latest, although they will do everything they can to ensure it is restored earlier. That said in the worst impacted areas power may not be restored until tomorrow (Sunday, November 28). Please call 105 to report a power failure or any other emergency issue to the power network.

Our roads teams are working hard to remove blockages and debris affecting the road network across Aberdeenshire. The teams will do their best to perform winter maintenance duties too. Please be patient and if your journey isn't essential please don't travel.

UPDATE: 9AM (27.11.2021) - The Banff Bridge reopened at around 9pm yesterday evening. Those who have essential journeys that need to cross the bridge should take care due as the bridge remains exposed to strong winds.

Many roads across Aberdeenshire remained shut overnight due to windblown trees and driving conditions across the region is not advised.  Roads crews were out this morning at first light to start reopening roads but it will take some time over the weekend to return the network to normal, so road users are asked to be patient.  

Roads users should continue to follow Police Scotland advice not to travel, but those who have essential journey’s to make should still exercise extreme caution.

UPDATE: 5.00PM FRIDAY - The decision has been taken to close the A98 Banff Bridge due to high winds. The road will be closed from around 5.15pm and we will review the situation again at 7pm.  The road is also currently impassable due to flooding and high winds at Palmers Cove between Banff Bridge and Macduff. 

Owing to the conditions, we have also suspended this evening's planned winter maintenance operations in the interest of safety.

Police Scotland are advising drivers to avoid travelling in Aberdeenshire this evening - conditions for travel are extremely dangerous and if you do travel you may experience severe disruption.

Congestion caused by vehicles may restrict emergency services, recovery vehicles, gritters and snowploughs from providing essential assistance or from clearing roads.

All drivers, but specifically drivers of goods vehicles and buses must assess how essential their journey is and reconsider the safety of continuing with operations during this extreme weather.

As expected, we’ve seen the winds strengthening across the north of the country, with gusts of 74mph already recorded in the north and we’re expecting the strongest winds moving into the north-east and spreading southwards across the east coast over the next couple of hours. Gusts of 80-90mph are expected during a 5 to 6 hour period across exposed eastern coastal areas.

These very strong winds, together with the unusual wind direction, continue to bring the risk of significant impacts, including travel disruption, risk to public safety, power outages, structural damage, damage to temporary structures, including mobile homes, and large waves affecting coastal communities, harbours and sea fronts.

Remember, if you do experience a power outage, please call SSEN on 105Please be mindful of the forecast weather and potential hazardous conditions across the north-east area.

Many roads are now being impacted by snowfall and driving conditions are being affected - so please take care.

We will keep this updated as and when things change: