Storms batter Wakefield

5th January 2012'Tree fallen down on Oakenshaw Lane Wakefield.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
5th January 2012'Tree fallen down on Oakenshaw Lane Wakefield.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
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GALE-force winds and torrential downpours brought down trees, caused power cuts and created hazardous driving conditions this week.

A major clean-up operation began on Thursday after trees were uprooted and power cables were brought down.

Tree fallen down and blocking the road, diversions in place Warmfield Lane, near to The Plough pub

Tree fallen down and blocking the road, diversions in place Warmfield Lane, near to The Plough pub

But people living and working near to the River Calder were braced for more devastation after the Environment Agency issued a new flood alert as water levels continued to rise.

Villagers in Warmfield were left without electricity after two trees were blown onto overhead power cables.

PC Colin Daley was driving into Wakefield at 6.45am when he discovered branches from the uprooted trees on the power lines.

He said: “I had just got the road blocked when there was a huge gust of wind. The tree fell further onto the cables causing them to fuse together.

credit: Matt Pennington

credit: Matt Pennington

“There was a big explosion and the cables came down, surrounding the police car.”

Houses were left without power for the majority of Thursday morning.

Karen Parkinson, of Warmfield Lane, said: “My neighbour saw it. She said there was a huge bang and then a big flash of light.

“When the phone lines went down, my number called 999 for some reason. I have no idea how. It’s all really weird.”

In Kettlethorpe a car was severely damaged when a tree came crashing down on its boot when it was parked on Langsett Road.

In Walton, Oakenshaw Lane was closed for most of Thursday after a tree blocked the road.

Joanne Roney, Wakefield Council chief executive, said: “We have had teams of council staff on call for the last two nights and they were particularly busy last night when the winds across the district were very strong.

“I am grateful for the work the teams are doing in what are often very difficult conditions.”

On Tuesday night, the hazardous weather made the driving conditions dangerous. Two elderly people are still in hospital following a smash that closed Wakefield Road, Scissett, for several hours during the rush hour.

Yesterday a police spokesman said an 85-year-old man was in a critical but stable condition after suffering serious leg injuries and an 80-year-old woman is stable but poorly after sustaining neck injuries.

Three people were also hurt when two cars collided on the M62 near Rothwell and slid down an embankment

Firefighters from Wakefield, Normanton and Rothwell stations battled through treacherous conditions to free the drivers and passenger.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The weather was horrendous and the situation was quite challenging.

“The drivers and the passenger involved were all very lucky.”