Storm Isha leaves thousands in North West left without power as network reports 'widescale damage'

Big waves in Blackpool. Credit: PA Images

Thousands of people in the North West have been left without power as Storm Isha brought disruption to the electricity and transport networks.

The entire country was subject to wind warnings issued by the Met Office as gusts topped 90mph in places.

Electricity North West said crews had been stood down due to the conditions with almost 8,000 homes losing power.

The company said expected restoration times had been pushed back to 5pm on Tuesday, 23 January.

Network Rail imposed 50mph speed restrictions across most routes to keep passengers and trains safe from falling trees and debris blown onto tracks.

In a statement the company said: “It’s likely that travel disruption will continue into Monday morning as engineers finish the clean-up operation removing fallen trees and debris and running ‘ghost trains’ to ensure lines are clear before allowing passenger trains to restart.”

Avanti West Coast warned of changes and delays on Monday and said no passengers should attempt to travel between Preston and Scotland until services are due to resume at 9am.

A number of roads across the region have been closed.

  • M6 Southbound in Cumbria closed due to recovery work and earlier overturned lorries from J39 B6261 (Shap) to J38 A685 (Tebay).

  • Whiteleys Lane in both directions closed due to fallen power cables from A577 Wigan Road to School Lane.

  • A50 Newcastle Road in both directions blocked due to fallen tree near A534 Spark Lane (Arclid Traffic Lights).

  • Grane Road Eastbound in Haslingden, Lancashire, blocked and there's heavy traffic due to fallen tree from Jackson Heights Road to B6235 Holcombe Road (Holden Arms).

  • Whalley Road in Sabden, Lancashire blocked in both directions closed due to fallen tree from Watt Street to The Whins.

Meanwhile, air traffic control restrictions were in place, leading to flight cancellations and causing some planes to divert.

Passengers were 'stuck on the runway' after a Ryanair flight from Manchester to Dublin was forced to divert 500 miles away to Paris on Sunday, 21 January.

The flight was diverted to Paris. Credit: MEN Media

The flight, which was initially due to land at Dublin International Airport at around 3.30pm, was already delayed by an hour when leaving Manchester Airport on Sunday afternoon.

However, due to 'dangerous' Storm Isha winds, which hit gusts of 90mph in some areas, the plane was forced to circle over the Irish Sea multiple times before aborting its landing and instead flying 500 miles to Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport, landing shortly before 5.30pm.

National Air Traffic Services told PA: “Due to adverse weather conditions across the UK, temporary air traffic restrictions are in place. Restrictions of this sort are only every applied to maintain safety.

“Our teams are working closely with airports and airlines to minimise disruption. Passengers should check the status of their flight with their airline.”

Agencies across Cumbria declared themselves on standby for a major incident, with Sellafield nuclear site closing as a precaution on Sunday.

The sailing of a Stena Line ferry from Belfast to Birkenhead, due to arrive at 6.30pm on Sunday was delayed until at least 7.30am on Monday.

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