Storm Arwen was described as the ‘worst storm in over 20 years’ and 240,000 properties were affected by the damage – but the 80mph winds of Storm Barra brought more danger and destruction
The last homes and businesses without power finally had supply restored today – as Storm Barra brought more chaos.
Northern Powergrid confirmed electricity was finally back on in all 240,000 properties affected by the damage, 12 days after Arwen, the “worst storm in over 20 years”.
But the 80mph winds of Storm Barra brought more danger and destruction. In Scotland, more than 1,000 properties were without power – just days after the final homes were reconnected after Arwen hit on Nov 26.
Northern Powergrid apologised to its customers, and thanked them for their patience, particularly in the hardest hit areas of Northumberland and Co Durham.
They pledged to look at ways to improve their performance “in the event of major power cuts”. “We have made some changes,” said a spokesman. “We will learn more lessons from the reviews that will follow.”
Mary and Terry Laycock, who live in a small hamlet at the foot of the Cheviot Hills near Wooler, Northumberland, were among the last people to get power back on.
“I don’t think they knew we existed. We just seemed to be forgotten about,” she said. “Mountain rescue came to see us and the police also came round with leaflets to say where we could get a free hot meal.
Martin Cavaney/Athena Pictures)
“I have been cooking on two gas canisters and we have also been for fish and chips. I think I have lost everything in the freezer but at least my daughter took the Christmas turkey back to hers.”
John Charlton, a Northern Powergrid engineer, was doing 16-hour days.
“Everyone has really dug in deep to get everyone back on supply,” he said.
Met yellow weather warnings remained in place in England and in Wales, with the risk of power outages, and flying debris.
Bryngwyn Comprehensive School in Llanelli, Wales, shut temporarily after 70 mph gusts ripped off part of its roof. No one was injured.
Wind speeds of 86 mph were recorded in Aberdaron, Gwynedd, a week after a 81 mph gust was recorded in Aberporth, Ceredigion, during Storm Arwen.
Coastal communities were warned to take care close to piers and harbours, with huge waves hitting seaside towns in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
The waves were so large in the village of Borth in Ceredigion, Wales, that locals were asked to avoid the area completely.
Hyder Ali Pirwany, of Okehampton, Devon, filmed a hailstorm that left the streets carpeted in white.
He said:”There was thunder and lightning at first, followed by heavy sleet and hail which piled up like snow.
“It knocked out my television and FM radio reception – it is back now almost 12 hours later.”
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 11 flood alerts and three flood warnings, with more rain forecast today.