Storm Arwen: Three people die as gusts of almost 100mph recorded in areas of UK

For the first time in almost two years the UK saw red weather warnings issued as Storm Arwen battered the country, Helen Keenan reports

Three people have died by falling trees amid Storm Arwen, which has lashed the UK with gusts of almost 100 miles per hour.

On Saturday, police confirmed a man died in Aberdeenshire after his pick-up truck was hit by a falling tree on Friday evening.

As police attended the crash another tree fell onto their vehicle.

Police Scotland said the 35-year-old was driving a Nissan Navara pick-up truck on the B977 Dyce to Hatton of Fintray road when it was struck by a falling tree at about 5.45pm.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sergeant Craig McNeill, of the Divisional Road Policing Unit at Inverurie, said: "Our thoughts are very much with the man's family and friends at this time.

"Officers responding to this crash had parked a distance away due to weather conditions.

"On returning to their van they discovered a tree had fallen on it. No-one was injured."

A car edges around a fallen tree on the B4378 near Brockton in Shropshire. Credit: PA

In Ambleside, a man died after a tree fell on him, Cumbria Police confirmed. Police, ambulance and fire service personnel all attended Vicarage Road at 11pm on Friday, but the man, who was from Lancaster, died at the scene.

The police and other agencies were still at the scene on Saturday morning as the tree remained in a dangerous position, and people were asked to avoid the area until it is made safe.

In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was struck by a falling tree in County Antrim on Friday.

Amid warnings not to travel in affected areas, gusts have reached speeds of 98mph in Northumberland, with an estimated 120 lorries becoming stuck in snow near Rochdale.

A lorry blown over in high winds blocks the A179 near Hartlepool, County Durham. Credit: PA
A fallen tree blocks a road in the centre of Norton village in Teesside during Storm Arwen. Credit: PA

Inverbervie on the north-east coast of Scotland saw gusts of 78mph, while Aberporth in Wales saw speeds of 77mph. Roads were closed by fallen debris in the worst-hit parts of Scotland, while LNER train services north of Newcastle were also ground to a halt, with high winds, heavy rain and snowfall arriving from Friday afternoon.

In Scotland, around 80,000 people lost power due to storm damage.

Scotland's police force and government have urged people living in areas of the nation covered by a red warning not to travel by car “under any circumstances”.

A red warning indicates dangerous weather is expected and that it is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure.

ScotRail has already warned of train cancellations because of the storm, and said on many routes it is limiting train speeds.

Other members of the public who live in red areas shouldn't travel either, the Scottish government added.

While the red weather warning expired in the early hours of Saturday, the forecaster said amber and yellow warnings for wind remained in place, with the expectation of “some very strong gusts” in many areas.

But the forecaster warned the north-east of England, north-west of England, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the East Midlands will experience cold weather until Monday.

In Hartlepool, strong winds tore off roofs and destroyed several homes in a caravan park.

Adele Pritchard described trying to help people whose caravans had been affected by the strong winds.

'It's just in pieces. It doesn't happen very often but when weather like this hits, it is bad,' she said.

'I went over and tried to help a few people,' Ms Pritchard said

Elsewhere, the clubhouse roof of Chester le Street Town FC came off in one piece and landed on the pitch of the Northern League division two side’s pitch. Volunteers gathered to dismantle the mangled metal, exactly a year to the day since the non-league clubhouse was opened.

The clubhouse roof lies on the pitch at Chester le Street Town FC in County Durham. Credit: PA

The Channel Islands, meanwhile, has also felt the force of Storm Arwen with torrential rain and gusts of 60 miles per hour. Wild weather has promoted Condor Ferries to cancel all of its weekend sailings, while airline passengers are being warned of possible delays and cancellations.

Footage showed howling winds whipping up the North Sea in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and snowfall elsewhere, including in Redcar, Yorkshire, and Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

While the red weather warning expired in the early hours of Saturday, the MET office said amber and yellow warnings for wind remained in place, with the expectation of “some very strong gusts” in many areas.

A man makes safe fallen masonry from a property, which has damaged a nearby car in Sunderland. Credit: PA

Stephen Dixon, a Met Office spokesman, said: “The worst-affected areas will predominantly be on the coasts, with gusts of over 75mph bringing possible disruption to travel and longer journey times, power cuts, flying debris and large waves, with beach material being thrown around."

“The south-east and London, though fairly windy, are likely to escape the worst of the gusts and remain relatively calm in comparison to the rest of the country, which will certainly feel the impact of the storm.”

Storm Arwen is moving in from the North Sea and will travel south before easing on Sunday, Mr Dixon said.