Storm Dudley: Thousands of people lose electricity due to damageon February 16, 2022 at 7:21 pm

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One electricity company put people in a queue for its website due to surging demand.

Waves crashing on the seafront at Blackpool ahead of Storm Dudley

Image source, PA/Peter Byrne

Thousands of people are without power after rain and winds hit parts of the North East, Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Lancashire as Storm Dudley struck.

An amber wind warning is in place until midnight then a yellow wind warning from Thursday afternoon into Friday as Dudley leaves and Storm Eunice arrives.

Power firms had said they were ready after storms such as Arwen, Malik and Corrie caused days of outages.

Northern Powergrid had to put people in a queue for its website due to demand.

Big waves hit the sea wall at Whitby North Yorkshire

Image source, PA/Danny Lawson

It said the storm “has caused above-typical levels of damage to the network” which is now being assessed and estimates to restore power were “subject to some uncertainty”.

The Tyne and Wear Metro has been suspended between North Shields and Tynemouth due to a collapsed wall on a bridge, thought to be caused by the storm, although the service remains in operation elsewhere.

HGV on its side in Northumberland

Image source, North News and Pictures

Durham County Council is urging all drivers to take care, especially those of high-side vehicles, on busy routes such as the A1M, A19 and A66.

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Redcar seafront

Francis Reavley, from Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland, lost power for five days during Storm Arwen, then two days during Storm Malik.

His power went off again at about 15:00 GMT on Wednesday and after reporting it to Northern Powergrid he was told it would be back on later in the afternoon, although reconnection times have since been put back.

“I have no confidence it will be back on then because they just keep putting it back and back,” he said.

“I am so frustrated and so fed up with all of this. It looks like we are going to have another dark, cold night.”

Francis Reavley

Electricity North West’s Paul Bircham said it was “very prepared” and more staff had been drafted in across its operation, with others moved to “specially-designed” storm roles.

He admitted lessons had been learned from Storm Arwen, which saw 10 to 20% of customers affected by “multiple faults” on the network.

A dog and dog walker on Tynemouth beach amid strong winds

Image source, PA/Owen Humphreys

In Yorkshire, the Humber Bridge has been closed to high-sided vehicles while a number of trains between Leeds and London have been cancelled due to damage to overhead power lines.

Winds measuring 74mph were recorded at Emley Moore, between Huddersfield and Wakefield.

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Forecasters said Eunice could also bring snow in high areas.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is advising customers with tickets for journeys between York or Leeds and London King’s Cross on Friday to bring them forward to Thursday.

The operator said the move was ahead of expected disruption and infrastructure damage on the East Coast line from Storm Eunice.

Services that can operate face extended journey times, and short notice delays, alterations and cancellations are expected, it warned.

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By BBC Weather forecaster Simon King

Dudley will affect the north of the UK bringing 60 to 70mph winds, which are not extraordinary for this time of year for those areas.

But there are travel restrictions and there will be some damage, some disruption and we need to take care and make arrangements as Storm Dudley will pack a punch.

With an amber warning there’s the potential for some trees coming down, possibly on to power lines which could lead to more power cuts.

But I think we need to be more careful about Storm Eunice – it’s going to come in from the South West and it’s going to hit a good portion of England and Wales.

When we’re talking about gusts of wind of 70 to 80mph through inland areas of southern and central England, that is quite extraordinary and we’re going to see some extremely strong winds of possibly up to 100mph around coastal areas.

As Eunice moves in we might well see quite significant snow over the hills of northern England, into southern Scotland and Northern Ireland, so it’s not just the wind.

On Sunday we could see another storm, but the focus for the moment is Dudley and Eunice.

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Message on Northern Powergrid's webite

A generator has been installed at Jubilee Hall in Rothbury, Northumberland, in case the village suffers power outages as it did in Storm Arwen in November and Storm Malik in January.

Northumberland County Councillor Stephen Bridgett said the hall would act as a “warm hub” if needed, adding: “As soon as I see another storm come in, it is a weight on the shoulders.”

The Environment Agency has two flood warnings in place as of Wednesday evening at Keswick Campsite and at the River Wye, at Litton Mill, Derbyshire, and 38 flood alerts, where flooding is possible.

Man walks past house with roof collapsed on ground in front

Image source, PA Media

Police in Cumbria said a “multi-agency response” had been prepared to tackle any impact from the storms.

Supt Matt Pearman said: “All agencies are working together to ensure that our communities have access to the help and support they may require during the storms.

“We also ask that our communities prepare themselves ahead of Dudley and Eunice and make themselves aware of the key contacts and ensure any vulnerable people within our communities are also aware and prepared.”

Conditions ‘horrendous’

Richard Warren from the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association urged people to “stay at home” during the storms.

He said he felt sorry for visitors who had come to the Lake District for holidays as the weather was “appalling”, but said conditions on the hilltops would be “horrendous”.

Mr Warren said there had been 87 callouts since the start of the year, compared with 40 in the same period in 2020, most of which were “avoidable”.

“We will go out whenever we have to but even we would be at risk of being blown over and injured if we have to go out in the next couple of days,” Mr Warren said.

“Stay at home. There’ll be trees coming down and all sorts of problems.”

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