Scotland storm leaves 50,000 without power

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Engineers in Scotland battled on Friday to restore electricity to almost 50,000 homes left without power after a huge storm wreaked havoc and sparked travel chaos.

Winds of up to 165 miles (265 kilometres) an hour uprooted trees, flipped vehicles and caused a wind turbine to burst into flames during the first big storm of the British winter on Thursday.

Flights were grounded, drivers were advised to avoid roads across large parts of central Scotland, train services were cut and thousands of schools were shut.

More than 1,300 engineers, many drafted in from across Britain, were struggling to restore electricity to homes across Scotland, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

A spokeswoman for supplier Scottish Hydro told AFP that 48,000 customers were still without power, down from 70,000 earlier in the day.

First Minister Alex Salmond praised the response of emergency crews to the monster storm.

"Scotland is a windy country but even for Scotland that was a once-in-a-generation experience," he told AFP during a visit to Hong Kong.

© 2011 AFP

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