Mary Anna (10 Dec 2011)
"Scotland Shut Down By Icy 165mph Blasts"

Scotland Shut Down By Icy 165mph Blasts

A fierce storm with winds of up to 165mph has battered northern parts of Britain, with people warned to stay indoors, schools forced to close and flights and rail links cancelled.

Localised flooding has also caused major disruptions on roads - and more than 30,000 homes have been left without power.

In North Yorkshire, a RAF helicopter plucked a couple to safety after their car was swept away in floodwaters near Aysgarth. They were flown to hospital with suspected hypothermia.

The Met Office earlier issued its strongest warning - a red alert - for winds in Scotland and warned parts of England and Wales to "be aware", as temperatures were expected to drop and snowfall was predicted as far south as Birmingham.

The electricity company added that engineers have been prevented from fixing the problem as roads are blocked by fallen trees and the high winds have made it too dangerous to climb up poles.

Stirling council areas closed at lunchtime, while North Ayrshire recommended that parents keep children at home.

Strong wind blasts have hit wide areas across Northern Ireland