Storm Arwen: Huge Christmas trees outside Sainsbury’s and in the town centre toppled and buildings damaged as winds batters Blackpool and Lancashire

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The winds from Storm Arwen have quietened down after a rough night in Lancashire, leaving residents and businesses to count the cost of the damage.

 

Gusts of up to 60mph yesterday saw the Prom in Blackpool shut after a building crumbled as tourists inside scrambled to safety at around 5.40pm.

The resort’s large Christmas trees in Talbot Square, outside Sainsbury’s, and in St John’s Square, were both toppled, as were ‘snow-topped’ trees placed in front of the Tower for the Winter Wonderland festivities, which were called off.

The tree in St John’s Square was this morning being removed by workers.

The large Christmas tree outside Sainsbury's and the council offices in Talbot Square was downed by Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

The large Christmas tree outside Sainsbury’s and the council offices in Talbot Square was downed by Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

There was drama in Bispham Road, Cleveleys, at around 8.55pm while firefighters removed 15 metres of loose signage from a ‘dangerous’ building.

Around 20 minutes later, fire crews were called to Westgate Road, near Blackpool Airport in South Shore, and taped off a footpath while they removed loose tiles from a rooftop.

Elsewhere in the county, two people were hurt after a tree fell on their car in Higham at 10.40pm. They had to be cut out the stricken motor. The extent of their injuries was unknown this morning.

A Lancaster man was killed when a tree fell on him in Ambleside at 11pm, Cumbria Police said.
Bricks fell from a building on Blackpool's Promenade during Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

Bricks fell from a building on Blackpool’s Promenade during Storm Arwen on Friday, November 26, 2021 (Picture: Darren Nelson)

Police and other agencies were still at the scene, in Vicarage Road, this morning as the tree remains in a dangerous position, and people were asked to avoid the area until it is made safe.

Tens of thousands of people across the north west lost power overnight, Electricity North West, which put 70 extra workers on stand-by, said.

Around 140 in Lancashire were still affected by 8.30am, with engineers unable to climb poles to repair damage due to the strong winds.

“Last night’s conditions were treacherous and extremely severe with debris and falling trees damaging a large number of overhead power lines, mainly in Cumbria and Lancashire,” Clive Wilkinson from the power firm said.

Homes in New Longton, a village four miles outside Preston, were among those without power as residents woke up this morning.

The Met Office said wind speeds hit 98mph, albeit in Northumberland, which was one of the eastern areas covered by the forecaster’s rare ‘red’ weather warning, which expired in the early hours of today.

In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was hit by a falling tree, while roads were also closed by fallen debris in the worst-hit parts of Scotland.

Train services north of Newcastle also ground to a halt, while trams in Blackpool were axed along the town centre stretch of track.

ITV bosses were forced to pre-record last night’s live episode of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! in North Wales amid concerns, including that poor weather would interfere with the broadcast around Gwrych Castle.

Last night’s rugby union Premiership game between Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors was also postponed due to safety concerns.

Meanwhile ScotRail services were disrupted between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, Dunblane and Stirling after a barn was blown onto the line close to Polmont, near Falkirk.

The Met Office described the conditions as “horrendous” and people also reported power cuts.

Northern Powergrid said severe gales had caused power cuts for more than 55,000 customers, mainly in the Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear areas.

Footage showed howling winds whipping up the North Sea in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and snowfall elsewhere, including in Redcar, Yorkshire, and Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

North West Motorway Police said around 120 lorries were “stuck in the snow” on the M62 at junctions 21 and 22 and urged motorists to avoid the area.

Tweeting pictures of the motorway blanketed in white, they said snow ploughs had been deployed.

A Met Office statement said: “People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life.”

A less severe ‘yellow’ weather warning was due to remain in place across much of the UK until 6pm, while cold weather was expected until Monday.