Tyne & Wear

Gales across northern England bring damage and power cuts

Wind damage in Newgate Street
Image caption Newgate Street in Newcastle was closed after part of the roof of the Eldon Square shopping centre was damaged

More than 40,000 properties across northern England were left without power in gale-force winds.

Gusts of up to 75mph (120km/h) brought damage to buildings and caused problems for road and rail users.

About 39,250 of those affected in the North East, Cumbria, West and South Yorkshire have since had power restored, Northern Powergrid said.

A spokesman said engineers were working towards getting the lights on for 2,350 homes still without power.

Part of Newcastle was sealed off for a time after a section of the roof of the Eldon Square shopping centre collapsed.

The Met Office has warned the strong winds are likely to continue into Thursday.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Engineers are examining structural damage to Eldon Square in Newcastle

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Phil Steele, general manager of Eldon Square, said: "High winds overnight resulted in some structural damage.

"Thankfully, no-one was hurt, but as a precautionary measure Northumbria Police have temporarily closed Newgate Street until debris can be removed from our roof and the building can be made safe.

"Our structural engineers will be carrying out a full assessment as soon as the wind drops and it's safe to do so.

"Eldon Square is open as usual today, and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Part of a shed was blown on to a road in Winlaton on Tyneside

Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid's head of network operations, said: "The strong winds are continuing to affect parts of our region, but we'd like to reassure our customers that our engineers are working hard, in these challenging weather conditions, to get their power back on for our customers as soon as possible."

Police are also warning drivers to beware of toppled trees, which have blocked some minor roads in County Durham and Tyneside.

The bulk of those hit by power cuts were in the North East, while about 900 homes were without power in the Wigton area of Cumbria.

Tyne and Wear Fire Service said it had dealt with a number of weather-related incidents overnight, including a dangerous chimney in the Bensham area of Gateshead.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The gale-force winds whipped up waves near Whitehaven in Cumbria

High winds whipped up waves which smothered a passenger train on the Cumbrian coast near Whitehaven. Northern Rail said services were delayed in parts but still operating.

In Pelton, County Durham, fire crews have been trying to make safe a house where a gable end collapsed. Police also urged drivers to avoid the Barlow Lane area of Winlaton after a shed was blown on to the road.

Image caption Cars in Pelton, County Durham, were damaged when a gable end collapsed

Virgin East Coast said speed restrictions were put in place between Newcastle and Darlington.

Many bridges have also been closed to high-sided vehicles.

So far there have been no reported injuries.

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