Storm Arwen: Two men die as gale-force winds hit UK

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  • Storm Arwen

Image source, PA MediaImage caption, A lorry blown over in high winds blocks the A179 near Hartlepool, County Durham

Two men have been killed by falling trees as Storm Arwen lashed parts of the UK with high winds, rain and snow.

A head teacher in Northern Ireland died after a tree fell onto his car and another man was hit by a falling tree in Cumbria. In Scotland, 80,000 people lost power.

Gusts reached speeds of 98mph in Northumberland, and about 120 lorries became stuck in snow near Rochdale.

There are further warnings for wind, snow and ice across the UK on Saturday.

A rare red warning for wind had been issued by the Met Office across the east coast of Scotland and North-East England, with the highest speeds of 98 mph recorded at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland.

Gusts overnight affected "a wide swathe of the United Kingdom", the Met Office said, with buildings damaged and trees blown down.

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  • Thousands lose power in England as travel hit by Storm Arwen
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Wind speeds of 87mph were recorded at Orlock Head, County Down, while Inverbervie on the north-east coast of Scotland saw speeds of 78mph, and Aberporth in Wales had gusts of up to 77mph.

The man who died when a falling tree hit his car in Antrim was named locally as the principal of St Mary's Primary School in Maghera, Francis Lagan.

Police in Cumbria said a man from Lancaster was killed after a tree fell on him in Ambleside on Friday evening.

LNER advised customers not to travel until Monday – with weekend tickets valid until Wednesday – as it stopped trains running beyond Newcastle on Friday evening.

ScotRail also withdrew services between Aberdeen, Perth and Inverness on Friday and there was disruption on other lines.

There has been sleet across parts of Scotland and northern England with some heavy snow on higher ground.

Part of the M62 near Rochdale between junctions 21 and 22 was closed, as 120 lorries became stuck in the snow.

Image source, PA MediaImage caption, Falling masonry damages a parked car in Roker, SunderlandImage source, PA MediaImage caption, Huge waves crashed against the sea wall at Roker lighthouse in Sunderland as high winds continued across parts of the UK on Saturday

About 80,000 homes in Scotland were left without power, according to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, while the UK Northern Power Grid also reported outages for 55,000 customers, mainly in Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear. There were also some outages in Northern Ireland.

Network Rail closed the route north of Berwick-upon-Tweed at 17:00 GMT and warned there could be further closures elsewhere on the route.

Avanti West Coast, which runs the west coast main line, did not report problems on its cross-border routes but there was disruption on the CrossCountry Line between Newcastle and Edinburgh.

  • Storm Arwen forces I'm a Celeb to abandon live show
  • Gales cause Isle of Man travel disruption

Warwick Dent, LNER safety and operations director, encouraged customers to defer travel where possible with services expected to be "extremely busy throughout the weekend".

The railway line between Keith and Elgin in the north of Scotland has been blocked by a landslip, with Network Rail saying engineers were assessing the damage.

The red warning, which was in place along the east coast from Middlesbrough to Aberdeen, was in place until 02:00 on Saturday, and prompted police in Scotland to warn people not to travel "under any circumstances".

On Saturday, amber warnings are in place on the north-east coasts of Scotland and England, as well as the south-west coasts of England and Wales, until 09:00 GMT.

The warning means that high winds are expected to cause travel disruption and damage.

A yellow warning – indicating that travel disruption and damage is possible – was issued for wind across most of the UK, until 18:00.

There were also wintry showers expected in northern Scotland on Saturday morning, and spells of snow on high ground in south-west Scotland and parts of northern England.

Image source, PA MediaImage caption, In Norton village in Teesside, a fallen tree blocks a roadImage source, PA MediaImage caption, A roof is blown off in strong winds in Blackhall, County Durham

Ferries between Northern Ireland and Scotland were cancelled on Friday, with both P&O Ferries and Stenaline stopping services.

In Wales, reality TV show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here was forced to abandon its live show and broadcast pre-recorded footage as a precautionary measure due to Storm Arwen.

ITV said hosts Ant and Dec recorded their links before transmission while the celebrities remained secure inside the Welsh castle.

Temperatures were set to fall with the storm, with the Met Office warning the north-east of England, north-west of England, Yorkshire, West Midlands and the East Midlands would experience cold weather from Friday to Monday.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a cold weather alert, which is in place from 18:00 on Friday until 15:00 on Monday.

The government body is advising people to check on older neighbours and relatives, especially those who live alone or have a serious illness.

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.Media caption, Storm Arwen batters north-east coast of Scotland

In other developments:

  • A rowing boat crew was rescued after capsizing off the coast of Wales
  • A rugby union game on Friday night between Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors was postponed until Saturday evening due to safety concerns
  • Fallen trees have caused disruption in Scotland with the A96 blocked between Elgin and Forres
  • ScotRail said some passengers were stuck in north-east Scotland after trees blocked the line
  • Ferries were cancelled between the Isle of Man and Lancashire.

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