Hurricane-force gusts smashed property, destroyed cars, closed schools, disrupted transport and prompted police warnings for drivers to stay off the roads.
Around 60,000 homes lost power, the country's main bridges were shut and passengers were stranded on a train.
Winds of 70mph-85mph hit Glasgow and the Central Belt, leading police to tell drivers to stay at home and not to travel in the area until 9pm.
Much of the country shut down after Met Office forecasters issued this year's only red weather warning – meaning take action.
It was the fiercest storm since 2002 and about 500 weather-related incidents were reported to Strathclyde Police.
A 328ft (100m) wind turbine dramatically burst into flames, near Ardrossan, in Ayrshire, because it could not handle the severe conditions.
The fire on the giant structure, which began at about 3.30pm, left thousands without power.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said it had a high number of calls as the turbine could be seen "far and wide". Two appliances attended, but the fire eventually burned itself out.
Glasgow suffered a number of incidents due to the wind, with a 71mph gust recorded at lunchtime.
Byres Road, in the West End, was partially closed because of a dangerous building. Police said roof paraphernalia had come loose but no-one had been injured.
Renfield Street was partially closed because the roof of the Cineworld building was deemed "unsafe".
Glasgow University and Caledonian University were closed, as were all public museums, galleries, sports centres and libraries.
The highest wind speed was 165mph, which was were recorded on the summit of Cairn Gorm, in the Highlands – that was just 8mph less than the fastest ever recorded on the mountain in 1986.
A gust of 137mph swept the summit of Aonach Mor, near Ben Nevis.
In Bellshill, Lanarkshire, residents said it was "a miracle" no one was killed after a building began to crumble, throwing chunks of sandstone 45ft to the pavement below.
Parts of the Main Stand roof at Ayr United's ground, Somerset Park, were lost during the storms.
An easyJet plane almost crash-landed at Edinburgh Airport. The flight, from Bristol, almost scraped its right wing on the runway during the nail-biting landing.
And passengers landing at Glasgow Airport told how they feared for their lives.
Dave Flounders, 60, from Perthshire, who was flying back from Bangladesh, said: "The last five minutes were really jumpy – at one point I thought we'd had it."
ScotRail had speed restrictions of 50mph on all trains in case of falling trees and other debris, and or damage to overhead power lines.
And at noon, FirstBus took all double deckers off the road and replaced them with single deckers to keep services running.
ScottishPower reported power lines being brought down by falling trees and debris. The company had more than 600 engineers working to fix faults caused by the severe weather.
Here is how the events of the day unfolded.
4am: Following advice from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow City Council confirms all schools and nurseries would be closed.
8am: Schools across west Scotland are also closed, with only Renfrewshire Council and North Ayrshire Council opening and closing early.
9.30am: Motherwell College announces it is closed for the day.
10am: ScotRail says a temporary timetable is in operation and trains are following a 50mph limit. The train operator warns commuters to expect late afternoon disruption.
10.15am: Scottish Parliament allows all non-essential staff to leave early. Edinburgh Zoo, home to new pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, is closed.
10.25am: Erskine Bridge closed, followed soon after by the Forth Road Bridge.
11.10am: Glasgow University is closed.
11.15am: Wind forces Hibernian FC players to abandon a training session in East Lothian.
11.30am: The University of the West of Scotland announces its Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley campuses will close at noon.
11.40am: Strathclyde Police advice against any travel on roads across Strathclyde and announce a school bus has overturned in Dalry, North Ayrshire. No children were on board and the driver was not hurt.
12.15pm: First Bus pulls all double decker buses off the roads in Glasgow.
12.30pm: All Glasgow Life-run gyms, museums and galleries are closed and staff sent home.
13.35pm: Western Isles Police advise all residents to stay indoors.
14.10pm: Promenades in Ayr, Girvan, Troon and Prestwick are closed and public warned to stay away.
14.30pm: Roofs ripped off a row of garages in Cambuslang.
14.35: The international Rescue Corps, based at Grangemouth, say they will be available to respond to weather-related incidents in Scotland from 4pm.
3pm: A suspended ceiling at a cafe in Elgin collapses, causing minor injuries to two customers.
4pm: The River Clyde in Glasgow city centre bursts its banks, flooding the King George V walkway.
4.25pm: A wind turbine at an Ardrossan windfarm catches fire.
4.40pm: A "major incident" is declared by Northern Constabulary in Lochaber.
4.45pm: Association of Chief Police Officers extended its "do not travel" warning from 7pm to 9pm.
5.05pm: Ms Sturgeon confirms no reported serious injuries or deaths related to the weather.
5.10pm: West Highland Line closed and 64 passengers were stranded on a train three miles south of Crianlarich.
5.15pm: Around 60,000 homes have power cut off. Scottish Power says worst affected during storm include Renfrewshire, Dumbarton, Airdrie and Shotts, Ochil and Clydesdale.
5.20pm: Power cut at the Victoria Hospital in Rothesay, which operated with back-up generators.
6pm: Police say they had dealth with around 450 weather-related incidents.
6.30pm: A9 closed in both directions - northbound from Dunkeld and southbound from Killiecrankie – as a result of falling trees.
7pm: Around 18,000 homes had their power reconnected across the country.