Borough put on gale alert

Alan Harrison and Craig Yates, of Wigan Tree & Hedge Service, cut up a tree that was blown down onto The Hockery Brook pub, Hindley

Alan Harrison and Craig Yates, of Wigan Tree & Hedge Service, cut up a tree that was blown down onto The Hockery Brook pub, Hindley

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WIGAN folk are being urged to brace themselves this week for severes as winds reach speeds of up to 70mph.

The Highways Agency issued a weather alert for gales from 8am today until 9am tomorrow, with winds starting at 50mph and then getting stronger.

Hail, sleet and snow showers were also expected in the region which will significantly reduce visibility for drivers.

Winter services manager at the Highways Agency Andrew Olive has urged motorists to allow extra time for their journeys and to drive at appropriate speeds.

He added: “If your journey isn’t essential then it may be better to travel at a different time, especially if you’re driving a lorry, caravan or motorbike as these vehicles are particularly vulnerable in high winds. Drivers should also check fuel and fluid levels, electrics and tyres before setting off to make sure their vehicles are as safe as possible.”

Standish’s M6 Junction 26 (M58 Interchange) to Junction 27 has been listed as a road to avoid for high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes which could be blown over due to the strong winds.

Earlier this year the borough was hit with remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo which caused widespread damage throughout the town.

Christy Hurley of Orrell was rushed to Wigan Infirmary after being hit by the metal frame of a road sign on her way to work as the remnants of the hurricane hit the borough.

The 21-year-old was left with cuts and bruises to her face, and has been unable to see properly through one eye.

She told the Wigan Evening Post she feared her injuries could have blinded her.

A strong wind picked up the metal sign, which is thought to have been placed there due to nearby slip-road closures, and blew it straight into her, knocking Christy off her feet and on to the pavement. And since she has had to undergo surgery having suffered a fractured nose from the incident.

It wasn’t the only wind-related incident this year, Months earlier gales caused four people, including a seven-year-old boy, to be taken to hospital after a tree crashed over at a busy pub.

The youngster suffered a suspected broken leg after the tree, which was around 30ft tall, fell into the beer garden at the Hockery Brook in Hindley.