Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.
P&J Investigations

Storm Arwen one year on: A visual timeline of how events unfolded

A series of images from trees falling and a boat overturned during Storm Arwen
Image: DC Thomson

Storm Arwen approaches

Storm Arwen is approaching the north of Scotland. By 9am, Lerwick on Shetland is recording average windspeeds of 41mph, while gusts of 66mph are recorded at Wick Airport.

Not even at its strongest yet, winds flip a boat in Lossiemouth Harbour. No one is hurt.

Heritage museum Fraserburgh.

Awful scenes at the heritage museum. 😢😢😢

Posted by The Broch on Friday, 26 November 2021


The roof has been blown off.

He said: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I got there. I could see the roof flapping about in the winds.”

A resilience meeting is held by the Scottish Government, and Deputy First Minister John Swinney advises people living on the east coast not to travel.


David Lapage, a fisherman from Peterhead, was out trying to help move debris from the road.

David Lapage died during Storm Arwen
David Lapage, 35, died after his Nissan Navara pick-up was struck on the B977 Dyce to Hatton Fintry Road around 5.45pm on Friday, 26 November.

While driving along the B977 Dyce to Hatton of Fintray Road an overhanging tree branch fell and struck his car – killing him.

Read more about his story here.

The lifeboat crew arrives at the stranded vessel in the early hours of the morning. The winds have reduced but are still 37 mph.

Sam said: “We had to work our way up the coast, punching into the weather. It was a really hard slog from start to finish.”

The crew has to escort the boat four miles from shore before they can stand down. The waters are treacherous. They arrived back to the base in Arbroath at 8am.

They were out for around eight hours.

Power cuts

Louise Grant and her family were one of many who lost power during Storm Arwen.

She was sent home from her work as a school dinner lady alongside her kids when the weather began getting worse.

The family, who live in Rhynie, turned the heating on as much as possible to warm the house up before the storm knocked out the power. Due to the connections, they also lost their water supply, and slept in the living room to keep warm.

Louise Grant and her two children, Ross and Fraser Shand.

Louise said: “We had a lot of board games. We were quite good with that.

“The way that Rhynie’s power works is that if there is no power there is nothing to pump the water through. So, there was no water coming through.”

To ensure they didn’t go without water, the family filled up a bucket of snow to let it thaw.

But they were still waiting anxiously for their power to return.

She said: “You get all the texts saying the power would be back by whenever. And then you’d get another one saying actually no, it will be this time.”

The experience has taught Louise and her family to be more prepared, but she hopes that more people would think “of the smaller places if things were to happen again, it would be more appreciated”.

The morning after

Storm Arwen samaritan

In the aftermath some people just wanted to help others.

Michael Coull, owner of Little Kitchen Outside Catering, arranges with butchers and suppliers to stock up his food truck so he can make sure people without power were being fed.

 MP Greg Hands, Micheal Coull and MP David Duguid
Left to right: MP Greg Hands, Michael Coull and MP David Duguid.

He was frustrated to hear how many people were left without power as the days went on, and said: “If they had said to people it would be out for four days, they could have made plans. But people waited until it was three or four days down the line.”

On the Sunday after the storm, he served more than 500 people across Aberdeenshire who were unable to cook for themselves.

He said: “I didn’t want to see anyone starving. I wanted to make sure people were fed.
“They were just so grateful for some hot food and something to drink. You hear stories about the water and people struggling.”

The Storm Arwen inquiry

An inquiry was launched by the UK Government to investigate Storm Arwen and its impact.

It concluded energy networks across Scotland and Britain were not resilient enough to handle severe storms of this nature.

Support for customers affected by power cuts was “poor”.

The Met Office and distribution network operators were told they must work together to make better public forecasting tools.

The report suggested: “Current modelling suggests that in the future, GB will likely be subject to more extreme weather events, although it is not certain this will include more frequent severe winter storms similar to Storms Arwen and Eunice.”

The Scottish Government published its own report promising more preparation and improvements after Storm Arwen.

This included more communication and support for those most vulnerable.

The report concludes: “(We) hope that the evidence set out here goes some way to reassure communities across Scotland that lessons have been learned.

“Improvements will continue to be made which will collectively strengthen our emergency response processes.”

The effects of Storm Arwen are still being felt by some communities even a year after that devastating weekend.

Despite huge ongoing efforts by forestry staff, some woodland remains closed to the public while some residents near Insch are in limbo as an access road damaged in Storm Arwen has still not been repaired.


This timeline was produced using contemporaneous reporting from The Courier and Press and Journal, social media research, and interviews with those who witnessed events. With thanks to Police Scotland, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Met Office, and Forestry and Land Scotland for providing additional data used throughout.


Words and research by Brendan Duggan

Visual subheadings, scrollytelling and words by Joely Santa Cruz

Words and scrollytelling by Emma Morrice

Data visualisation by Lesley-Anne Kelly

Lead graphic by Gemma Day

SEO by Jamie Cameron