Region battered by severe storms

A fallen tree in Vauxhall Road, Scholes
A fallen tree in Vauxhall Road, Scholes
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TREES came crashing down, roads were closed and winds reached 70mph as Wigan was hit by one of its worst storms in years.

At one point on Sunday, every pump in Greater Manchester was out on call to reports of damaged buildings and fallen trees as well as fires.

The stormy weather has stretched the fire service to the limit and we have been dealing with the various incidents as quickly as we can. Our firefighters and support staff have done an excellent job in extremely difficult conditions

David Acton

And yesterday, there was more substantial damage after a tree was ripped from its roots and plunged into the canal just by Poolstock Lane.

Luckily nobody was walking beneath on the footpath as it crashed down, just as it was fortunate it didn’t fall the other way into oncoming traffic.

Other fallen trees did cause road blocks though, in Carr Lane, Worsley Mesnes, and Makerfield Way, Ince.

Crews from Wigan were called to a house in Old Road, in Ashton, after gusts of winds had dislodged a slates on the roof. Firefighters climbed on the roof to remove loose tiles to make the area safe.

GMFRS tweeted: “We are dealing with a damaged building at old road, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Debris has been falling from a gable end. We are making it safe.”

Crews were also asked to attend Powys Street, in Atherton, to remove a damaged chimney to prevent it from falling.

The fire service has not reported any injuries relating to the bad weather in the borough.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Greater Manchester, 16 parts of Manchester’s Christmas Markets had to be closed following safety concerns and a tree fell on a block of flats in Salford.

A roof was also blown off shops in Denton, causing injuries.

In total, the region’s fire crews responded to 126 calls between noon and 3pm Sunday.

David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The stormy weather has stretched the fire service to the limit and we have been dealing with the various incidents as quickly as we can. Our firefighters and support staff have done an excellent job in extremely difficult conditions.

“The storms have highlighted how we need to maintain our resilience and any further decrease in the numbers of firefighters would have a serious impact on the safety of the people of Greater Manchester.

“I would like to reassure the public that despite the severe pressure on our services currently, we will respond to calls as quickly as we can. If you do not require assistance immediately, please be patient as we prioritise emergency calls.”

Yesterday, the Met Office have issued a yellow “be aware” weather warning for much of the UK and Northern Ireland after the storm which hit the country over the weekend continued.

Up to 15cm of snow is expected to fall across high ground in parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and North West and North East England, and up to 2.5cm could affect lower areas.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: “Rain is expected to turn to wet snow with 2cm to 5cm possible above about 150m, and some slushy accumulations possible at lower levels. 10cm may possibly occur above 300m.

“Please be aware of the need to take extra care and allow more time for travel.