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11 December 2014, 08:07
Weather warnings remain in place across the UK after the country was hit by stormy conditions caused by a so-called ''weather bomb''.
Almost 30,000 homes were left without power as high winds and heavy rain swept across Scotland yesterday.
The majority of households were reconnected but hundreds of engineers were set to work into the night to restore power to about 2,800 homes across the Western Isles, Shetland, Orkney and rural areas on the west coast.
The wind, rain and high waves also caused travel disruption with power cuts, ferry and train cancellations and difficult driving conditions.
A wind speed of 144mph was recorded on the remote St Kilda islands, with gusts of more than 80mph also hitting some low level areas.
A Met Office "amber'' be prepared warning had been in place throughout yesterday for the west coast of Scotland, the Highlands and Islands, Orkney, Shetland and Northern Ireland.
These were downgraded to yellow ``be prepared'' warnings in the evening as forecasters predicted gales could gradually ease this morning.
The alerts for wind remain in place until 10am and cover Scotland, Northern Ireland, parts of Wales and northern England
The Met Office said the gales could be severe in places overnight, especially for exposed coastal areas in the west, with gusts of 65mph to 75mph in places.
It also said wintry showers could bring snowfall and ice which could bring potential for travel disruption as there could be some "significant'' snow accumulations in parts of Scotland.
The process behind the storm - rapid cyclogenesis - is known colloquially as a "weather bomb''.
During the worst of yesterday's weather, a fishing vessel which issued a Mayday call at around 5.30am after it was hit by a wave that smashed windows on the bridge had to be escorted to safety off Orkney.
The British-registered vessel O Genita, which has a Spanish crew, was escorted to Westray in Orkney by the lifeboat, arriving just before 11.30am.
None of the 16 crew were thought to be injured.
Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney last night praised frontline staff for how they dealt with disruption to travel and power supplies.
He said: "I am pleased to report that we are seeing an improving picture in terms of the stormy conditions tonight and heading into tomorrow.
"Obviously there has been transport disruption, principally on the ferry network and also on some of the coastal rail services where it's just been unsafe to run trains because of the dangers of the coastal flooding that could have taken place.
"Some alerts remain in place, and we are not out of the woods yet, but any necessary repairs and safety checks on the transport network are expected to go ahead tonight as planned.''
Network Rail and ScotRail said full services are expected to run today.
Meanwhile, schools nurseries and other facilities in the Western Isles are planning to open as normal after they were closed throughout the day yesterday.