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Hundreds without power after East Lancashire hit by 70mph gales
4:20pm Thursday 13th February 2014 in News
MORE than 900 homes are still without power across Lancashire following yesterday's gales.
Engineers have been called out to several sites to try and reconnect customers.
In East Lancashire, areas affected include Clitheroe, Burnley and Padiham.
Meanwhile, the fire service has been called to a property on Herbert Sreet in Burnley after reports that the front of a house has caved in.
The Met Office had issued a ‘red’ warning for parts of Lancashire earlier in the day and urged people not to drive unless the trip was unavoidable.
There were several reports of trees falling into roads, including in Brandy House Brow in Blackburn, Littlemoor Road in Clitheroe, Accrington Road near Whalley, and the B6243 at Great Mitton.
Hyndburn firefighters were called to remove aerials which had blown into dangerous positions in Lime Road and Belfield Road in Accrington, while crews from Blackburn were called to Audley Range where a billboard had swung away from its fitting.
They said trees had also come down in Clarence Street and Fishmoor Drive.
Burnley crews were called out to repair guttering in Rosegrove Lane and Hart Street.
East Lancashire police said about 40 trees had been blown down by 9pm, but said there had not been any major incidents or people injured.
Paul Jackson, 39, said an ambulance was called to the car park in Queens Road, Chorley, at about 5.30pm after someone was injured by a falling tree.
Oswaldtwistle councillor Peter Britcliffe said a ‘sizeable’ tree came down in Guide and partly blocked School Road at about 3.30pm.
He said: “I wouldn’t like to think about what damage it would have caused if it landed on a car.”
By 8.30pm, 26 fallen trees had been reported across the police’s eastern division which covers Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley.
Buildings were also damaged, including a property in Cotton Tree Lane in Colne.
Firefighters were called at about 3.30pm after some roof tiles blew into the road. They said they removed the remaining tiles and made the roof safe.
Meanwhile, Exchange Street in Blackburn town centre was closed after a panel of cladding blew off the Town Hall tower block and made the area ‘unsafe’.
Harry Catherall, the council’s chief executive, said last night: “The situation is being assessed and we will take whatever action necessary to ensure the safety at all times of both staff and residents.”
Burnley Council put up signs saying its public parks were closed due to concerns that trees may pose a threat, while Network Rail said the West Coast Main Line between Preston and Cumbria would be closed from 7pm to 9pm.
The M6 was due to be closed between junctions 19 at Knutsford and junction 21a, the Croft Interchange, until about 10pm, with winds affecting the Thelwall Viaduct.
The Met Office had initially issued an amber warning of wind, the second most severe, with temperatures feeling as low as -6°C, but upgraded the warning at 10.45am yesterday, including parts of East Lancashire.
Heavy snow and more heavy winds were also forecast through the night.
The gusts began at about 3pm and Lancashire Fire and Rescue said it had attended more than 50 incidents by about 7.30pm.
Most of these incidents were in the west of the county however, where 84mph winds were recorded at Blackpool Airport.
Lancashire County Council said it would do all it could to keep the county moving, but asked people to consider the conditions before travelling.
Highways teams were put on standby to remove obstacles such as fallen trees and to temporarily close roads for safety if they were affected by debris, while Electricity North West drafted in extra engineers to repair any damage.
Residents were also asked to only put out rubbish and recycling that ‘absolutely needs collecting’.
The M62 was also closed in both directions between junctions 22 and 23 across the Pennines, and the M56 Weaver Viaduct in Cheshire was affected.
Delays were affecting the M55 into Blackpool after a roof was blown off a building, according to the motorway police.
The coastguard was told to expect hurricane force winds and Irish Sea ferry crossings between Heysham and the Isle of Man were cancelled.
"Winds were expected to reach up to 80mph widely and possibly 100mph in the most exposed locations in west and north-west Wales," the Met Office said.
Forecasters said the wind was expected to have dropped by today but warned that more rain was expected over the next few days, with temperatures expected to struggle above 4C.