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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Gale-force winds wreak havoc across Cumbria

Gale-force winds brought havoc to roads and railways across Cumbria and southern Scotland today.

Virgin Trains suspended services on the West Coast Mainline because a fallen tree between Penrith and Oxenholme caught fire.

And services across Scotland were halted as the winds battered the region.

On the roads, three lorries were blown over on the M6 and a fallen tree blocked the busy Loop Road, Whitehaven.

The Environment Agency put flood warnings in place for the coast all of the way from St Bees up to Gretna. It also had flood alerts in place from St Bees Head - where a 63mph gust was recorded early this morning - to Millom and at the Duddon Estuary.

There were numerous power supply problems across north and west Cumbria, said Electricity Northwest.

Outages were reported in the Gillford Park, Durdar and Wreay areas, near Carlisle and in the Penton area, north of Longtown.

A high voltage fault affected properties along Ullswater to Clifton, near Penrith. There were also problems in the Wigton-Mealsgate area - where Boltons school at Bolton Low Houses was closed - and in the Seaton, Clifton and Camerton areas near Workington. A fault was also reported in the Harrington area.

Sean Duffy video: Whitehaven is battered by the storm. Article continues below...


There were reports of flying debris on roads and safety warnings were issued for some routes, including the M6 between Tebay and Penrith and on the A66 between Brough and Bowes. Durham Constabulary closed the A66 to high-sided vehicles though it has since reopened.

A HGV was reported to have been blown over on the M6 north at the Mossband Flyover between junctions 44 and 45, near Carlisle. All three lanes were initially closed. The accident happened just before 8am.

And the M6 northbound at junction 40 (Penrith) was closed because of an overturned lorry. All three lanes were blocked but the road has since reopened.

A third HGV was blown over late this morning on the motorway between junctions 39 and 38.

Motorists were advised by police to avoid the areas and find alternative routes, if possible.

A fallen tree, from Crow Park, closed the Loop Road in Whitehaven, between the Midgey Road junction and Sunny Hill pub.

The B5299 Dalston Road at Lingley Close junction was closed by a tree that fell onto a Kia Rio car being driven by a 48-year-old woman. Police tweeted this:

A fallen tree also closed the A595 two miles from the Belle Vue roundabout, near Cockermouth.

And the West Strand car park at Whitehaven was closed due to "dangerous waves" crashing over the harbour wall, say police. People were urged to stay away from the area.

Also in Whitehaven, Inkerman Terrace to Loop Road was closed due to fears that corrugated steel roof panels on a petrol station may be ripped off by the wind.

There were concerns about the stability of the roof on Whitehaven Sports Centre. Some damage was caused to the extractor fan system and the centre was closed.

Part of Whitehaven's harbour wall was demolished by the surging tide.

The A595 at Muncaster was flooded and closed; police said "a vast amount" of water on the road was making it impassable.

National Rail said there were delays on various rail services:

  • Virgin Trains between Preston and Edinburgh / Glasgow Central
  • many Northern Rail routes

All Scotrail services were this morning suspended until further notice and passengers advised not to travel.

Network Rail Scotland said: "Due to the huge amount of debris - trampolines, hay bales, trees - on the tracks the entire network in Scotland in being closed down we will need to make sure all lines are clear and not damaged before we can reintroduce trains."

And Virgin Trains said the West Coast Mainline was blocked because a fallen tree between Penrith and Oxenholme caught fire.

Both Network Rail and ScotRail had warned yesterday of reduced services and emergency speed restrictions on some routes. "The speed restrictions are expected to be in place from early morning until 2pm and will help to ensure the safe running of our trains," said Northern Rail.

The affected routes included, Carlisle-Newcastle, Preston-Carlisle (via Oxenholme), Preston-Carlisle (via Barrow) and Skipton-Carlisle.

The four-day continental market, which opened yesterday in Carlisle city centre, was cancelled today after part of it was 'blown away' by the wind. It should be open as normal tomorrow, weather permitting.

Eden council said the weather was affecting recycling services at Berrier, Unthank, Churchtown and Sebergham and told residents to keep hold of their recycling until next week's collection.

The Met Office, which had an amber warning in place, forecast that winds of up to 80mph would hit the county, though a 112mph gust - the highest in the UK today - was recorded at Great Dun Fell.

The agency warned there was "potential for significant coastal flooding" in north west England due to a combination of large waves, surge and high tides.

"The public should be prepared for the potential for significant disruption," it added.

Have your say

On your other story regarding damage to whitehaven harbour,you say the owners are the harbour commission and not the council,the question i have is why did the council and does the council apply for lottery funding for it's upkeep,and who gets all the money for the boats parked up in their,they must get a few hundred thousand per year not to mention the fees they pay for opening the harbour gates,something stinks here when they say they have no money for repairs,please tell me who does have the money?.

Posted by James O on 8 December 2013 at 21:32

A couple of trees blown down some trains cancelled not quite as bad as the Phillipines was it. Let's get a sense of reality and not the usual press hyped hysteria.

Posted by Anon on 7 December 2013 at 20:42

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