THOUSANDS of people across Shetland are facing a fourth day without power.

Engineers from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution have been facing severe weather to restore power to around 2400 properties which remain off supply in Voe, Brae, Yell and the West Mainland.

This comes amid the threat of further snowfall and freezing temperatures after a major incident was declared on Tuesday.

SSEN said that depending on weather conditions and travel availability, it is possible homes could remain cut off until the weekend as its engineers rebuild the “critical backbone” of the network.

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Icy conditions are forecast to continue over the next 24 hours, with frequent rain, sleet, hail and snow showers.

The Met Office has extended a yellow warning for snow and ice covering northern Scotland and north-east England until 11.59pm on Thursday.

All schools in Shetland are closed with more than 60 shut in Aberdeenshire.

Shetland Island Council has urged anybody who needs support to get in touch.

Council leader Emma Macdonald said: "This is a tremendously difficult time for many people whose homes will be cold and food and other supplies may be running low.

“I’d urge anyone with urgent health or care needs to get in touch and our staff will respond to any request for help as best we can.

“Additional SSE staff are now in the isles in large numbers to restore power as quickly as possible but it will take time, given the scale of the damage to the power network in Shetland and the continued challenging weather conditions.”

Scotland’s Justice Secretary Keith Brown is expected to visit Shetland on Thursday to meet those leading the efforts to respond to the extreme weather and restore power supplies.

Speaking late on Wednesday evening Mark Macdonald, head of region at SSEN Distribution, said: “Today has been about rebuilding the core spine of the network. Following three days of significant travel constraints, severe access issues and continued adverse weather conditions, we’re making up for lost time with engineers working since first light today.

“By Thursday a 125-strong team will continue this rebuild, while simultaneously reconnecting homes by rerouting the network and connecting large-scale mobile generation to restore power to our customers.

“We’d encourage customers to take advantage of the welfare provisions organised in partnership with Shetland Islands Council and the Local Resilience Partnership, working closely with DH Marine who have worked tirelessly throughout Wednesday to connect mobile generation to power local public halls.

“We’ve delivered non-perishable food items to these locations this evening to support the joint welfare effort, ensuring the worst affected communities have access to hot food, drink and a warm space.”

Customers can claim up to £30 per person for every 24 hours they are without power and are asked to keep copies of their receipts.

SSEN is also offering to reimburse reasonable food costs for a hot meal if customers are unable to access the welfare locations.