Two killed during Storm Arwen as 100mph gusts cause major disruption
At least two people have been killed as Storm Arwen brought gusts of almost 100mph, causing road closures, train delays and power cuts across the UK.
The Met Office had issued a red wind warning for parts of north-east England which expired early on Saturday, but the forecaster said amber and yellow warnings for wind remained in place across large swathes of the country.
A few inches of snow also fell across Scotland and parts of England, with more expected during the morning.
At least two people died in different parts of the country as trees were blown over.
Marco Petagna, a Met Office forecaster, told the PA news agency: “We’ve seen some pretty severe gusts overnight with the highest speeds hitting 98mph at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland.
“Elsewhere, exposed sites in Scotland and Northern Ireland also surpassed 90mph, with 70-80mph seen more widely in the north of the UK, though parts of southern England and Wales also felt the effects of the storm.
“This has been coupled with a few inches of snow which has fallen in some areas.
“In the higher ground areas of Scotland we expected to see up to 15cm falling but the strong winds meant the snow blew around and created a blizzard in some parts.”
Cumbria Police said a man from Lancaster died in Ambleside after a tree fell on him just before 11pm on Friday.
In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was hit by a falling tree in County Antrim on Friday.
Wind speeds reached 87mph in Orlock Head, Co Down.
Inverbervie on the north-east coast of Scotland had gusts of 78mph, while Aberporth in Wales saw speeds of 77mph.
People have been advised to be wary of travelling on Saturday, as train networks across the UK reported disruption to services.
ScotRail services were disrupted between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, Dunblane and Stirling after a barn was blown on to the line close to Polmont, near Falkirk.
TransPennine Express customers were urged not to travel, with services between Newcastle and Edinburgh cancelled.
South Western Railway expected disruption on Saturday morning due to “multiple trees and obstructions blocking the railway”, while London North East Railway warned customers not to travel north of York due to “significant damage”.
Dorset Council reported that trees and power cables had fallen on roads in the area, while road closures were reported more widely in the worst-affected parts of northern England and Scotland.
Social media footage appeared to show a number of lorries and cars stuck on roads where snow had fallen, with ploughs being deployed in a number of areas.
Homes across all parts of the UK were damaged as the gusts struck.
It came as 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.
A number of councils in Scotland also reported power cuts, and Electricity North West responded to a high number of cuts affecting thousands of properties in Cumbria and Lancashire.
Mr Petagna said: “There has been plenty of disruption caused by these severe gales, stretching down from south-west England and as far as northern parts of Scotland.
“But I have to say we’ve seen the worst of the weather and things will start to fizzle out over Saturday, though people will still see snow and fairly strong gales.”
Amber wind warnings are in place for Saturday morning in south-west and north-east England, while a yellow warning stretches across central England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is expected to last until 6pm.
It means people should expect gusts in excess of 70mph, bringing further disruption with more power cuts, flying debris and travel delays.
The Met Office warned that north-east and north-west England, the West Midlands and the East Midlands will experience cold weather until Monday.
Snow warnings remain in place across large parts of England, including the South East, and Scotland as a cold northerly airflow moves across the country, with up to 5cm expected.
Mr Petagna said a yellow warning for ice is likely to be issued for northern England and Scotland on Saturday.