A BUSY Inverness road was closed causing traffic chaos as gale force winds battered the city this morning.
The storm brought masonry from building crashing to the ground in Grant Street which was then sealed off for safety reasons.
Meanwhile, fences and trees were blown over in many parts of the city while power cuts hit many areas of the Highlands including the Black Isle and Dingwall.
A total of 56 schools, seven service points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather and loss of water.
Due to roof damage, Inverness High School was closed this morning and pupils sent home at around 11.15am for their safety.
The school will remain closed on Friday 6 December.
Panels became detached from Rose Street car park and were overhanging onto Rose Street (on the north side of the building) and the street has been cordoned off for safety.
The Council is trying to arrange contractors to assess and secure the damaged panels.
Service Points closed include Lochcarron, Ullapool, Helmsdale, Muir of Ord, Fort August, Mallaig, and Lairg. Lochcarron and Ullapool subsequently re-opened when power was reinstated.
The main council offices in Dingwall were closed this afternoon due to loss of power and heating.
Richard Evans, Highland Council’s acting head of road and community works said: “Since 5am this morning we have been responding to calls outs regarding fallen trees and debris across roads and our staff have been working to clear roads and keep traffic moving.
“In Wester Ross a polythene roof was blown off one of our salt stores, and our Ullapool depot received damage to its roof and doors.
"Oykel Bridge in Sutherland was closed due to flooding.
“We have staff out clearing fallen trees and debris on the B852 Dores – Foyers, A862 Inverness – Beauly, B970 Aviemore – Kingussie, U1313 Bellsgrove-Polloch (Kinlochan) Lochaber - and many side roads have also been affected by debris.”
In expectation of predicted high tides and possible storm surge sandbags were installed on the banks of the River Ness this morning, and yesterday, spare sandbags were supplied by the council to residents along the river side.
The River Ness flooded its banks in the centre of Inverness and the council is working with contractors Morgan Sindall to increase the sandbagging of the area.
There was also severe travel disruption with trains cancelled.
Both the Kessock Bridge and Skye Bridge are closed to high sided vehicles but the Dornoch Bridge, which was closed, has now fully reopened.
The A86 Newtonmore to Laggan road, the A836 Bonar to Lairg road, four miles towards Bonar Bridge, A887 four miles south of Invermorriston, A87 at the Kyleachin Straights, A82 at South Laggan outside the Corriegour Hotel are all still closed due to fallen trees and debris.
For updates on weather alerts, travel and flood warnings Police Scotland are advising the public are advised to listen to local radio and to visit the following websites for the most up to date information: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
PICTURES: ANDREW SMITH