A volunteer today said it was a “miracle” no animals were killed as high winds wrought havoc at a rescue centre.
Wild weather on Saturday night caused chaos across the north-east as high winds battered the region.
One woman in Elgin had a lucky escape after the side of her house was blown off.
And the New Arc (North East Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre) near Ellon was also badly hit by the conditions.
Kevin Newell, 36, a volunteer at the centre and part of a small team who care for hundreds of animals, said 21 animals had to be moved during the night as the wind damaged and destroyed enclosures.
He said: “We’re situated on top of a hill here and it’s open countryside all around. We were getting winds of nearly 80mph.
“We had cages, carriers and flooring blowing all around the site. The buildings were rocking as though they might come down. It was so bad you could barely stand up in it. It was terrifying.”
At around 8.30pm Kevin discovered significant damage to one of the aviary enclosures containing an injured redwing, a young magpie, four feral pigeons and a sparrow.
He said: “The front of it was caving in on itself and collapsing. We had to evacuate the aviary in dangerous conditions.
“There was a serious chance they were going to die in there.
“We had to go in and move all these birds.
“We managed to get all of them out of there safely.”
The team carried out half-hourly checks on the animals for the remainder of the night up until 5am, and discovered yet more damage to the shelter used by Polly the pig.
Kevin said: “It had blown probably around 20 feet down the field. It was absolutely destroyed.
“She was panicking and in a lot of distress.
We’ve got a lot of work to do to repair everything. It was an absolutely awful night.
“Thanks to the heroics of the team we managed to get all the animals out of the aviary. It’s a miracle the storm didn’t claim any victims.”
Meanwhile on Harrison Terrace in Elgin, Elsie Ralph, 67, had a lucky escape when she heard a thump and realised the side of her house had fallen off.
She said: “You could actually see into the whole of the loft. I was shocked. I couldn’t think straight.
“But it just so happened a police car was passing on the main road and they came to see if everyone was okay. Thankfully there was nobody injured.”
In Aberdeen, a window was blown out at the train station on Saturday night, which left glass shattered on Guild Street.
Hundreds of homes in parts of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, including Cove, Portlethen and Stonehaven, were also left without power as SSE engineers battled the elements to try to restore services.
The A93 was closed between Braemar and Spittal of Glenshee on Saturday with council gritters out over the weekend treating routes affected by snow and ice.