THOUSANDS of people in Shetland are waking up to a third day without power after a major incident was declared on Tuesday.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is working to restore supplies to around 2800 homes but warned that full restoration is only likely by the end of the week.

The Scottish Government declared a major incident on Tuesday following significant snowfall on Monday evening with its Resilience Room meeting to discuss the impact of power outages in Shetland.

More engineers are due to arrive on the ferry from Aberdeen to help restore power.

SSEN spokesman Graeme Keddie told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “Firstly I’d like to apologise to those customers still without power and reassure them that we are making every effort to get to them.”

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He added: “This morning, as of overnight, we have 2800 homes without power across Shetland.

"We made very good progress yesterday reconnecting 1000 homes and hope to make continued progress today, particularly as the travel situation we talked about, the flights restarting, and also we’ve got 15 additional line crews are coming over on this morning’s freight ferry and more by helicopter so that will make a real difference to restoration efforts.

“This has been a very concentrated and explosive weather event on Shetland which was far more severe than forecast.

“The local teams have said this is the worst they’ve seen since 1995 over the Christmas period.”

The Met Office has extended a yellow warning for snow and ice covering northern Scotland and north-east England until noon on Friday.

Elsewhere, the leader of the Shetland Islands Council praised staff for their hard work in keeping everybody safe. 

She said: “We are a resilient community and are often cut off during the winter if the ferry doesn’t run. We do all pull together.

“We have small teams of people but they are working incredibly hard and everybody is doing their best.”

Minus 17.3C was recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on Monday into Tuesday, making it the coldest place in the UK for the second night in a row.

Heavy snow showers have been reported in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire on Wednesday, where motorists have been warned to drive with care.

Met Office spokeswoman Becky White said areas covered by the latest weather warnings could see up to 10cm of fresh snow on higher ground.

“We could see a good few new centimetres of snow accumulation,” she said.

“We could see around 1-4cm at lower levels and 5-10cm on higher ground across the Highlands.”

“There will be a risk of ice across the country over the next few days, but particularly tonight,” she said.

Scores of schools across the UK were forced to close for a second day on Tuesday due to the cold weather.

Councils from Aberdeenshire to Cambridgeshire reported school closures, for reasons including heating failure, burst pipes and snow and ice, while all schools in Shetland were shut on Tuesday due to the weather conditions.