Bad weather - but nothing to what Falkirk faced in 1968

Winter weather caused '¨disruptions across Falkirk '¨district this week with schools closed and delays on the roads.

With more snow and ice forecast, people are being warned to be prepared for the conditions before venturing out.

While some say it is not causing the problems faced in the winter of 2010/11 when snow lay for weeks, those who remember the gale force winds of January 1968 say “you haven’t seen anything”.

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A devastating hurricane in the early hours of January 15 that year saw a trail of destruction across Central Scotland – and Falkirk wasn’t spared.

Over £1 million-worth of damage was caused to property and 20 people were treated at Falkirk Royal Infirmary for injuries. Thankfully no-one was killed but across the country 20 people lost their lives.

The winds hit their peak of 110mph at around 2am and in the first few hours of the emergency Falkirk Fire Brigade answered 26 calls.

These included rescuing people trapped in buildings as roofs and chimneys were blown off.

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Around 1000 headstones were blown over in Camelon Cemetery and countless shops had their large glass windows damaged.

The clear up operation lasted for months as the local authority, home owners and businesses made repairs.

Although this week’s weather woes failed to match half a century ago, it did cause disruption with Falkirk Council’s roads staff working round the clock to keep priority routes gritted.

Yesterday (Wednesday), a council spokesman said: “Our gritting and snow clearing crews have faced some really difficult conditions over the past 48 hours and have been working around the clock to keep essential roads and footways open and safe. We have also been refilling grit bins over this period.

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“We have to prioritise routes and concentrate our resources on priority routes, roads around schools and medical facilities, major bus routes and main roads in and out of our communities.

“We would always urge the public to check weather warnings before travelling and to ensure that they are prepared for potential delays. We are currently refilling grit bins again across the council area to allow residents to self-help. There are over 1000 grit bins to be filled and we will endeavour to get to them all within the next day or so.”

Several primary schools, mainly in the Braes, were closed due to the adverse weather conditions.