Gale-force winds bring chaos to Yorkshire’s roads

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Gale-force winds have brought another day of disruption to Britain’s transport and power networks as warnings remain in place for fierce gusts, snow and ice over the rest of the weekend with severe problems on Yorkshire roads.

North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue said they were called to a series of HGV-related incidents on the A1, including one at Baldersby, near Ripon, where they rescued a 75-year-old man who was taken to hospital with minor injuries after his truck blew over.

Crews also dealt with another lorry which had its sides and roof blown off on the A1 at Leeming Bar and where the driver had to be led to safety.

Further north, Northumbria Police asked drivers to take extra care after a jack-knifed lorry blocked the A1 near Stannington Service in Northumberland.

Emergency services also dealt with a number of other wind-related incidents, with firefighters called to a number of reports of dangerous buildings in the Harrogate and Ripon areas as well as a fallen tree in Staveley which had blown onto power lines.

In Leeds, fire crews were called to a number of incidents relating to dangerous structures.

The trans-Pennine A66 route has been closed to high-sided and vulnerable vehicles between Brough and Bowes.

Winds of 76mph were recorded at High Bradfield in South Yorkshire.

The Met Office has yellow “be aware” weather alerts in place for the North, all of Scotland, the Midlands of England, and Northern Ireland until midday tomorrow for snow and ice. Wind warnings are in force in places until this evening.

In Scotland, where record-breaking winds of up to 113mph yesterday lashed parts of the country, thousands of homes in the very north of the country have been without electricity for more than 24 hours.

In England, a body has been recovered near Brighton after two men were reported lost at sea after getting into trouble in the water amid severe weather in the early hours of this morning.

Efforts to recover the beached Hoegh Osaka ship near Southampton have been postponed due to high winds, which have also caused severe problems on roads in Yorkshire and the north-east of England as a number of lorries were blown over, blocking carriageways.

Engineers said “treacherous and worsening conditions” continue to hamper efforts to repair the electricity network in northern and western Scotland. Around 40,000 homes remain without power.

The worst affected areas are in Buchan, Dingwall, Dunoon, Elgin/Huntly, Fort William, Inverness-shire, Oban, Perth, Shetland, Skye, the Western Isles and Wick.

Around 1,000 homes in Crowborough, East Sussex, also lost power when a tree fell onto a line but the problem has now been fixed.

In the Western Isles - Lewis, Harris and North Uist - special contact centres have been set up for people to access the emergency services after the bad weather knocked out the 999 telephone service in some parts.

A gust of 113mph was recorded at Stornoway on Lewis yesterday, the strongest since records at that site began in 1970.

The Scottish Government’s resilience team met this morning to assess priorities and challenges and the British Red Cross has been working with energy companies to reach vulnerable people without power and provide food, accommodation and generators where possible.

Scottish Hydro praised a chip shop in the Highlands for helping with food.

The power company tweeted: “Big shout out to the team in McGinty’s chip shop in Fortrose who are delivering hot food to elderly vulnerable customers.”

The bad weather has toppled power lines and uprooted trees, and yesterday forced ScotRail temporarily to suspend all train services over safety reasons.

The train operator reported more than a dozen route issues today, particularly on northern and coastal services.

A driver died in a one-car crash in Aberdeenshire where weather has been causing problems and police are investigating if it was a factor.

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said: “In the north of the UK, the wintry showers should push more eastwards and we should see most of them easing on Sunday.

“The south east should hold on to the largely fine conditions but we will see showers push into Wales and south west England, some of this falling as sleet and snow over the moors but also to lower levels.”

Numerous flood alerts and warnings remain in place for much of Scotland. Warnings are also in place in the north east, north west and south east of England.

The ferocious gales were stirred up by an extra-powerful jet stream triggered by plunging temperatures in the United States hitting warmer air in the south.