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Winds of up to 74mph rip through the Staffordshire Moorlands

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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WINDS of up to 74 mph battered the Staffordshire Moorlands area leaving a trail of destruction.

The gale force winds brought down a number of trees, roof tiles and ripped through fence panels.

The destruction left by the winds also left 2,300 properties across the North Staffordshire region with power issues.

Incidents within the Staffordshire Moorlands last night included: A large tree was almost completely uprooted in Cheddleton, dangerously leaning over a property; a tree blocking the road on B5053 Warslow to Longnor road, just past the turn off for Hartington; a tree down on the A523 in Winkhill, blocking one carriageway; and the A53 between Endon and Longsdon was blocked after a tree came down on a car.

Staffordshire Police hreported that they worked closely with partners, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Staffordshire Civil Contingencies Unit, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Highways Agency, to keep people safe and out of harm’s way.

The force reported that it dealt with an unprecedented number of calls last night as the winds continued to affect the county.

Between 5.30pm and 8pm the call takers were busier than on a typical New Year’s Eve.

They took 425 999 calls and 691 calls to the non-emergency number 101.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were also very busy with calls and had officers and crews attending large numbers of incidents including unsafe structures across Staffordshire.

Some fire crews and appliances were also deployed to other parts of the United Kingdom which are suffering from some of the worst flooding.

To keep an overview of the situation, an operations centre was opened yesterday at Police HQ in Stafford, where all partner agencies efforts were coordinated.

Chief Inspector David Bird, police commander, said last night: “Many local people are helping us out by reporting incidents and local farmers have been helping us at some incidents and clearing roads. We would like to thank you all for your support.

“The weather conditions are exceptional so please stay safe, stay at home and only make essential journeys if you have to. If you do need to drive, take extra care and reduce your speed.

“The demand on the emergency services is high this evening - please only call 999 if a serious injury has been caused or there is a threat of serious injury or danger to life. Remember you can also tell us about weather related incidents on our Facebook site.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service reported that it attended to a number of incidents that had occurred as a result of falling trees around the region yesterday.

At 5.30pm yesterday, the ambulance service received a call to Leek Road in Longsdon, Stoke-on-Trent to reports of a number of trees that had fallen on a car. An ambulance and a paramedic area support officer attended the scene.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “On arrival, crews found two trees that had fallen on to power cables and a vehicle. “Fortunately, the driver of the vehicle, a man, had managed to get himself out of the car. The man was assessed at the scene and was found to be uninjured.”

Elsewhere in the region, ambulance crews were called to a collision which took place on the M6 at 3.45pm.

The spokesman said: “Given the damage to the vehicles in these incidents, all of the casualties involved have been fortunate to have sustained relatively minor or no injuries.”

Ambulance crews were also called to reports of a lorry that had collided with a bridge in Shropshire after a tree fell on to the carriageway.

Two ambulances, two rapid response vehicles and the Trust’s MERIT rapid response vehicle, carrying a critical care paramedic and a trauma doctor were dispatched to the incident which occurred near to Tern Lodge in Atcham, Shrewsbury shortly before 4.15pm.

The driver of the lorry, was trapped in the cab for approximately two hours while emergency service crews worked together to free him safely.

The man was treated for a broken arm and a laceration to his head before being conveyed to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital for further assessment and treatment.

Staffordshire’s highways teams have been working through the night in severe weather conditions to clear the county’s roads of trees and other debris.

The county council has been working with the civil contingencies unit, police, fire and rescue service, Highways Agency and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to keep people safe and minimise disruption.

Highways teams responded to at least 70 incidents on county roads to deal with fallen trees, flooding and the effects of building damage.

Additional traffic was coming onto roads in the north of the county after the M6 was closed northbound between junction 14 and Keele.

Flood alerts remain in place in Burton and in areas around the Sow and Penk in Stafford, the River Blithe, Middle Tame in Tamworth and the River Severn near Rugeley.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “We have been working closely with colleagues in other agencies through the night to keep people safe and the county moving so it has been a real combined effort. The main issues have been around trees and other debris in the road as well as flooding.

“The teams will be out again today (Thursday) as there may still be some affected roads. We’re expecting a break in the severe weather today but will be monitoring conditions.

"Unfortunately it looks like there will be more bad weather over the weekend which we are prepared for.

“We’d urge people to check the forecast and drive with extra care.”

People can follow latest Highways updates on Twitter @staffsprepared or @staffordshirecc.

Western Power Distribution confirmed that 2,300 properties across North Staffordshire had issues with power after trees and other debris affected power lines.

A spokesman said: “We monitor the weather and make sure that we are fully prepared for these incidents.

“We have extra teams to be able to respond to any power cuts that may happen.

“We do apologise for any inconvenience and thank customers for their patience.”

DO you have any pictures of weather related incidents from across the Staffordshire Moorlands? Email them to abbey.buxton@thepostandtimes.co.uk

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