Glasgow is picking up the pieces after the storm. Teams of workers have been called back from holiday to deal with the hundreds of damaged buildings.
Winds of more than 90mph swept across the city in the first few days of 2012. Rail services were suspended and people advised not to travel. Two high sided vehicles were blown over on the Kingston Bridge causing it to be closed for the first time in most people’s memories. More than 180 trees were damaged as winds up to 95mph hit. The city’s Christmas Tree in George Square was blown over causing the square to be closed to the public for safety’s sake. The River Clyde broke its banks around the George V Bridge.
Many residents in the West End, in particular, woke to find their chimney stack blown off. In most instances debris fell to the ground and damaged cars below. In many cases, huge holes were left in the roof.
Workers were called back from holidays by David Hunter which is part of the long established Glasgow company Hugh Scott Builders and Slaters. Said Callum Hunter: ‘We have had between 500 and 600 calls to repair the damage done by the storm. We will get around to everyone but we have to prioritise and first make each place safe and make a temporary repair. Then we will have to come back.’
He said the properties most affected by the storm were traditional West End flats where the chimney heads had collapsed and flat roofed buildings from the 1970s and 1980s. ‘Often they were shoddily built and of poor design,’ he said. ‘As for the tenements; one top flat in the West End has a four metre square hole in the roof where the chimney head has been blown in. It will be at least three months before the owner can return home and he’s not alone in that situation.’
American student, Bill Baehr from St Louis, Missouri stopped to ponder one of the fallen trees in Kelvin Way as he walked to Glasgow University. He said: ‘I come from Missouri and we have tornadoes. We don’t associate Scotland with storms like this!’ But he added that it hasn’t put him off the city.
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