Power cables smash through windows of commuter train
Thousands of people in the Midlands without electricity yesterday
111mph gusts recorded between 10pm and 11pm at Great Dun Fell, which is 2,780ft above sea level in the Pennines
By Andrew Levy
Last updated at 12:13 AM on 6th January 2012
Storm force winds and heavy downpours wreaked fresh havoc across Britain yesterday, causing damage, delays and injuries.
As gusts reached 111mph, members of the public in some areas were advised to avoid all but the most urgent journeys.
Roofs were torn off buildings, trees and power cables crashed down on to cars and trains, and major routes were closed because of obstructions from debris and dangerous conditions.
Chingford: A fallen tree trapped four people in an East London house and crashed on top of the family car in the early hours of yesterday morning
Rescue: Firefighters freed the family using a handsaw to remove branches from the fallen tree early yesterday in Chingford
Thousands were left without power and some homeowners reported flooding.
Passengers on a packed rush hour train described themselves as ‘lucky to be alive’ after power cables smashed through a carriage window in Ely, Cambridgeshire. One suffered a head injury and the other was treated for an injury to a leg.
First Capital Connect said there was major disruption following the 7.15am incident on the King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross route.
One of the passengers said they were ‘lucky to be alive’.
‘I heard a loud bang as two windows in our carriage were smashed and the train rattled around,’ said a passenger, from Littleport, Cambs.
Borehamwood: A tree collapses on a car injuring a mother and a young girl as high winds and storms batter the UK
‘There was smashed glass everywhere and one man had a whole window in his lap.
‘It was terrifying, there were screams and people dived to avoid the glass and there was a lot of panic on board.’
He said the four-carriage train, from King’s Lynn to King’s Cross, kept moving for a few feet before the driver stopped it.
‘Everyone was trying to get the glass out of their hair and off their clothes,’ he added.
‘It took 40 minutes for the paramedics to arrive and help those who had been cut by the glass.
‘We then had to wait for the train to be evacuated. We were in the middle of the Fens and the wind was blowing hard and the train was rocking around, it was very frightening.’
A spokesman for First Capital Connect said the incident was caused by damage to the overhead wires and an investigation was now underway.
In Shenley, near Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, a woman and a ten-year-old boy were hurt when a tree crushed their car outside a primary school. Both were treated for minor injuries.
The Welsh National Library in Aberystwyth was damaged when part of the roof the ‘size of two tennis courts’ came loose.
And dozens of ferry passengers on a six-hour route from Portsmouth to Jersey endured 24 hours of ‘hell’ after the vessel was battered by 30ft waves that prevented it from docking at St Helier until yesterday afternoon.
On the roads, a number of major routes suffered closures or disruption, including the QEII bridge on the eastern side of the M25, the Severn Crossing between England and Wales and the A19 in Cleveland.
In North Yorkshire, where police urged motorists to make only essential journeys, lorries were blown over and fire crews helped homeowners and car drivers caught up in floods.
Disruption to rush-hour train services caused by trees on lines and damaged power cables were reported across the country, with thousands of commuters having to switch to buses. Tens of thousands were affected by power cuts, including homeowners in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Overflowing: Water levels in low lying areas of York were almost at the level of the bridges following the heavy rainfall
The M6 was closed yesterday causing miles of traffic tailbacks when this lorry was blown over on the bridge over junction two of the motorway in Coventry
Gusts of 111mph were recorded in the Pennines early yesterday morning and Capel Curig in Wales was battered by 87mph winds at 2am.
But it was still some way off this winter’s record of 165mph winds at Cairngorm summit in the Scottish Highlands on December 8.
Other parts of the country faced gusts of up to 80mph in exposed areas, leading the Met Office to issue warnings for North-West England, Wales and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. But it said the weather would be more settled going into the weekend.
Despite the miserable weather this week, the Environment Agency said hosepipe bans could be in force over large areas from May following a dry winter.
A crane begins trying to ‘right’ the truck after it was blown over. The load of waste it was carrying ended up being spilt all over the motorway embankment
The glass frontage at the Toyota showroom in Wolverhampton collapsed from the high winds
Heavy lifting: A lorry is recovered from the side of the A1 near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire after gale force winds caused disruption through the night
Along the same stretch of road a van, with its windscreen smashed in, is dragged up an embankment
FROM NORTH TO SOUTH, FROM EAST TO WEST, A TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION Thousands of people in the Midlands were without electricity yesterday afternoon. In the East Midlands, 5,000 customers were off supply, mainly in north Nottingham and Derbyshire. This figure was reduced from the 10,000 who were without power this morning. Northamptonshire Police said high winds were causing disruption across the county’s roads, with many affected by fallen trees and branches. The force dealt with approximately 30 incidents of trees blocking roads this morning. Two women had to be cut free from a car when a tree blew down on it in Eaglescliffe, Teesside, on Thursday night. They were taken to the University Hospital of North Tees with what were thought to be back injuries. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had 33 weather-related calls between 5pm on Wednesday and 2.30pm yesterday. At least eight of the calls involved fallen trees. Firefighters were called out after a tree fell on a car with three women inside in Thornton, near Crosby, shortly after 9pm. The women had managed to escape the vehicle before crews arrived. North Yorkshire Police on Wednesday evening urged motorists to make only essential journeys. Reported A66 was closed after a tree fell on to the A19 and several lorries were blown over in high winds. The Highways Agency said the Severn Crossing between England and Wales was closed to high-sided vehicles and motorcycles due to strong winds. It also warned anyone planning to use the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex of possible delays. Humberside Police say trees come down overnight blocking roads and causing obstructions in areas of Grimsby, Hull, Bridlington, Driffield and Snaith. Humber Bridge and the M62 over the Ouse Bridge, near Howden, were both closed to high-sided vehicles. North Yorkshire Fire Service said crews were called out to localised flooding at a small number of homes in the Skipton area and firefighters used a boat to help rescue a barge which was in danger of overturning when it was caught in moorings on the River Ouse in central York. Lorry driver taken to hospital when an HGV overturned on the A1 at Leeming and crews were called to two incidents of cars trapped in flood water – one in Acaster Malbis, near York, and the other at Embsay, near Skipton. In Scotland, buses replaced trains between Paisley Gilmour Street and Gourock/ Wemyss Bay. A tree on the line at Porchester in Hampshire led to train delays in the area, while another fallen tree at Wood End in the West Midlands caused delays to London Midland services between Stratford-upon-Avon and Shirley. Overhead wire problems caused disruption between Penrith North Lakes and Oxenholme Lake District. There were delays of up to 45 minutes between Carlisle and Lancaster. Cheshire Police said officers had attended more than 15 incidents relating to fallen trees, branches, and debris in the road since 6am yesterday. In Cambridgeshire, police said more than 20 trees were brought down by strong winds overnight. Essex Fire Service said it had been called out to dozens of incidents, including fallen cables and trees and dislodged television aerials. Norfolk County Council said it dealt with 200 incidents on the county’s roads overnight as gales and rain brought trees, branches and a power line down, and blew debris on to roads and pavements. Seven two-man road gangs were in action throughout the night and responded to around 120 incidents reported by the police. Three schools were closed because of weather-related problems. High winds brought down trees and power lines across the South West, blocking several roads. Power lines blocked a bus route in Plymouth after they were brought down between Little Comfort and Treburley. The A388 was blocked by a tree just north of the Springer Spaniel pub, half way between Callington and Launceston in Devon, and in south-east Cornwall, Trelawney Road was closed in Menheniot because of a fallen tree. Trees also blocked at least two routes near Exeter and firefighters had to secure a metal shed in Cullompton after it blew across a garden. A sandbank whipped up by the strong winds from a beach closed a road in Widemouth Bay, near Bude in Cornwall. In Gloucestershire fire crews were called out after a tree caught fire in Twyning due to collapsed power cables. Approximately five other roads in the county were also affected by falling trees. Somerset Council said it had six recorded incidents of downed trees, including one where the tree was ‘resting’ on a power line at Smith’s Lane, Fivehead, near Taunton. Environment Agency flood alerts remain in place for a number of rivers including the River Tavy at Tavistock and most the the River Tamar. Around 1,000 homes in the Salisbury area of Wiltshire are without electricity after power cables came down due to strong winds, Southern Electric said. Shrewton, Coombe Bassett, Stapleford, Berwick St James, Winterbourne Stoke and Broadchalke were all affected. The company said the power went off at different times throughout the area between 4.30am and 8.30am.”