'Unprecedented' sandstorm hits Thurso, Scotland

'Unprecedented' sandstorm hits Thurso, Scotland

A severe storm hit Scotland on January 7, 2019, producing what Thurso locals described as 'unprecedented' sandstorm. According to residents, until a few months ago, the sand never made its way into the town, not even during the worst storms.

However, a storm that hit the town on January 7, produced wind gusts of more than 130 km/h (80 mph), lifting up tons of sand from a 365 m (400 yards) long esplanade onto its streets, roofs, gardens and vehicles as much as 460 m (500 yards) inland.

According to The Press and Journal, Highland Council deployed 9 men, 3 lorries and 2 excavators to Thurso seafront to clear sand from the roads, footpaths and road drains.

"I’ve spoken to a 76-year-old lady and a 102-year-old man and they’ve told me this is unprecedented," local councilor Matthew Reiss said. "I’ve seen drifts of sand 60 cm (2 feet) deep and gardens and flower beds covered in 5 - 8 cm (2 - 3 inches) inches of sand."

Locals say they fear something has happened to cause the beach level to build up slowly in the bay over the past couple of years, and that sandstorms might occur more frequently.

The storm also affected other parts of the region, leaving some 11 000 customers without power and several schools closed.

The Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services on the west coast were disrupted and the Dounreay nuclear site in Caithness closed to most of its staff, BBC reports.

Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) teams reported high winds in Lochaber, the Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Torridon and on Creag Meagaidh.

In Torridon, the SAIS forecaster said strong winds had blown water back uphill at the Beinn a' Mhuinidh waterfall.

Featured image credit: The Press and Journal

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