Flights, ferries and trains were cancelled and a huge tree was blown onto a car as ferocious gales blasted the north-east yesterday – with more on its way.
The region was battered by gusts of 50mph, and the Met Office has issued a warning advising that disruption is likely to continue into today.
Police last night urged drivers to use “extra caution” and be prepared for the elements – with enough fuel, supplies and warm clothing on board.
A woman had a lucky escape when a tree crashed through the roof of her car as she travelled along Leggart Terrace, badly damaging it.
Meanwhile, Scotrail was forced to cancel services heading south from Aberdeen after a train struck a fallen tree near Stonehaven.
And concerned bosses at Aberdeen International Airport grounded outbound planes amid safety fears, and diverted inbound flights elsewhere.
Blackouts occurred throughout the area, with 288 homes around Collieston and Hatton left without power for more than four hours after an overhead cable was damaged by the high winds.
Outages were also recorded across Aberdeen, cutting the supply to traffic lights near Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and on Lang Stracht.
Craigton Road, in the west of the city, was closed due to a tree coming down and blocking the carriageway.
And the Halfpenny Farm animal sanctuary, at Clovenstone near Inverurie, reported that two trees were felled on the site – “narrowly missing” a chicken run.
Last night the Met Office confirmed gusts of 106mph had been recorded at the Cairn Gorm summit near Aviemore, while speeds reached 55mph at Kinloss in Moray, Altnaharra in the Highlands was hit by 70mph blasts and winds of almost 50mph caused havoc at Aberdeen International Airport.
A spokeswoman for the airport said a flight from Heathrow was diverted to Edinburgh “due to the high crosswinds” after a pilot had to abandon two attempts to land in Aberdeen.
While those passengers were bussed back to the north-east, a flight from Luton also had to land elsewhere.
A gale warning, which was expected to remain in force until midnight, meant that flights to London were axed at 2.40pm and 7.25pm.
Northlink cancelled the ferry between Aberdeen and Lerwick at 7pm last night, and has delayed the departure times of vessels leaving the city this morning.
The power cuts in Collieston and Hatton were reported to SSE at 11.30am and power was restored to the majority of the affected properties by 4pm.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 homes in Midstocket, Summerhill and Rosemount, lost their power supply at around 2pm, with power restored at 6pm.
Properties in the AB53 postcode area near Turriff experienced power cuts at around 12.45pm, with the supply fixed at 4pm.
Police last night urged drivers to take extra caution.
Chief Inspector Stewart Mackie, from the road policing division, said: “We are advising all drivers to travel with extra caution and ensure they and their vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure to have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event of being delayed for several hours.”
The force also encouraged people to charge their mobile phones before setting off, and to plan alternative routes.
Ch Insp Mackie added: “If you are driving a vehicle which may be vulnerable to being blown over in such conditions along exposed routes including bridges, please exercise additional caution and plan your route to avoid exposed areas or consider cancelling your journey until conditions improve.
“Previous incidents have clearly shown the dangers of driving such vehicles and the subsequent danger created for other road users, emergency services and recovery operatives where incidents have occurred due to drivers ignoring warnings.
“No-one should ever place themselves at risk on the road and it may be worth making alternative arrangements such as delaying travel until conditions improve or using public transport.”