Glasgow & West Scotland

Scotland storm: Family flee as wind rips through house

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Media captionThe high winds tore through the house in Airdrie pulling down a bedroom wall in the upper storey

A man has said he and his family are lucky to be alive after the storm force winds which battered Scotland on Thursday ripped away part of his home.

Paul Austin from Airdrie in North Lanarkshire was forced to flee the house with his wife and three children, including his six-week-old daughter.

He said he heard an "almighty rumble" as the family sat down to dinner.

A gust of wind brought part of the upper storey of the house in Howletnest Road crashing into the garden.

The family will now spend Christmas and New Year with relatives while they wait for repair work to be carried out.

Thursday's storm, the worst of its kind in a decade, brought down trees, closed roads and schools and knocked out power lines.

Winds of up to 165mph (264km/h) were recorded in the Cairngorms in the Highlands.

Mr Austin, 32, told BBC Scotland: "I had just come in from my work last night and was just getting ready to have my dinner when I heard this almighty rumble.

"I immediately came out to the front door and noticed some bricks lying. My first thought was that the chimney had come down.

"I noticed a gentleman in the middle of the road waving me out and when I looked at him he said: 'Look the front of your house has collapsed'."

Mr Austin said when he realised what had happened he grabbed his wife Margaret, two sons Callum, six, and Lewis, five, and baby daughter Cara and "basically just got out".

"We were a bit shaken," he added.

"Survival instincts kick in I suppose. You just try to make sure everyone is safe. The kids got a wee bit of a fright and were crying and upset. I think because they saw the panic in my face it triggered them off."

Image caption Mr Austin said he and his family had a lucky escape

The high winds caused roof tiles and part of a bedroom wall to collapse, littering the garden with debris and rubble.

Mr Austin added: "Luckily it fell out not in. It could have been a lot worse.

"You can see in the front garden there is probably about three or four tonnes of rubble.

"Had that have blown in the way it would have probably killed us all as we were just sitting ready to have our dinner."

The family are now staying with relatives and expect to be there until the end of January at least. Work is under way to make the area safe and the house wind and water tight while repair work is carried out.

Mr Austin said: "Stuff happens but you pick yourself up and move on. At the end of the day it's only bricks and mortar and can all be replaced."

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