UK

Winds close Forth Road Bridge and cut power to homes

Overhead view of the Forth Road Bridge on Wednesday Image copyright Transport Scotland
Image caption Recovery workers were on the bridge on Wednesday and it stayed shut to traffic

The Forth Road Bridge remains closed after a lorry blew over and thousands of homes in northern England lost power as gales swept across the UK.

Police Scotland said a 54-year-old man had been charged over the incident, which blocked both carriageways.

Met Office yellow weather warnings are in place for wind and snow across much of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England throughout Wednesday.

Thousands of homes lost power in north-east England because of the winds.

Northern Powergrid said it had restored power to 39,250 homes across north east England and Yorkshire. A further 2,350 customers were still affected.

SSE said it was working to restore power to 1,500 homes in the north of Scotland during Wednesday.

Drivers across Scotland and northern England have been warned to expect travel disruption because of the conditions, with further snow forecast for Thursday.

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Media captionTomasz Schafernaker details when and where snow is due to hit the UK

The lorry on the Forth Road Bridge blew over at about 02:00 GMT. A spokesman for the bridge-operating company said the bridge had been closed to HGVs from 00:30 GMT.

The truck was travelling north from the Edinburgh side towards Fife, but was blown on to the southbound carriageway, damaging a 40-metre stretch of the central grilling, he said.

The lorry was eventually hauled upright by a crane and was removed from the north end of the bridge shortly before 16:30 following delays to the recovery operation caused by strong gusts of wind.

The bridge is closed both north and south-bound and will remain closed during the evening rush hour.

The driver of the lorry has been charged with dangerous driving, police said.


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Image copyright PA
Image caption There are stormy conditions along the coast, seen here at Whitehaven, Cumbria
Image copyright PA
Image caption Part of the roof of Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle blew into the street
Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Northumbria Police warned drivers to be careful after winds brought down trees
Image copyright Mairead Morrison
Image caption A large tree collapsed onto a stone wall in Dalcross, Inverness

Meanwhile:

  • Strong winds closed roads in Cumbria and Durham
  • Northumbria and West Yorkshire Police warned drivers to take care as fallen trees blocked routes
  • The Energy Networks Association reminded people in England, Scotland and Wales that they can call 105 for free if the weather damages their electricity supply
  • Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne warned of "heavy disruption" across the Scottish network, with some sailings cancelled for the rest of the day
  • Several tourist attractions were closed in Northern Ireland because of the wind
  • BBC Sheffield reporter Kat Cowan captured the moment wind ripped off the facade of a storage company building.
  • Gusts of up to 129mph were recorded on Cairngorm in the Scottish Highlands in the early hours of Wednesday morning

Be aware" warnings are in place until Friday for Scotland and the north-east of England.

Lightning may also accompany the heavier showers, with potential disruption to power supplies.

Wintry showers will spread southwards, affecting Wales, East Anglia and southern England.

Rod Dennis, of the RAC, said drivers should be prepared for tricky driving conditions and extended journey times.

Police Scotland reminded drivers to prepare their cars; clear windscreens, windows and number plates; make sure lights are clean and working; fuel-up; take supplies of food, drink and warm clothes, a fully-charged phone; check routes, and consider alternatives if need be.

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