Chaos of 92mph Storm Corrie as power network issues 'red alert'

Chaos of Storm Corrie: Scottish and Southern issues ‘red alert’ as 37,000 homes are without power while schools are closed and trains cancelled after double storm mayhem and 90mph winds over weekend

  • Storm Corrie leaves 30,000 people without power in Scotland on top of 7,000 still cut off after Storm Malik
  • Northern Powergrid says 4,000 in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham are without power
  • Boy, 9, killed by falling tree in Staffordshire on Saturday and woman, 60, in Aberdeen was also killed by tree
  • Schools in Aberdeenshire are shut due to power problems after ScotRail cancelled all its services last night 

Tens of thousands of people remained without power today after back-to-back storms with ‘exceptionally strong’ 92mph winds caused devastation across Britain – leaving two people dead, closing schools and cancelling trains.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks issued a ‘red alert’ as Storm Corrie left 30,000 people without power this morning, on top of 7,000 homes still cut off from Storm Malik which left the network with ‘significant damage’.

Northern Powergrid estimated 4,000 properties across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham were without power overnight – and the North East remained under a Met Office wind warning this morning. 

A nine-year-old boy was crushed by a tree during a pheasant shoot in Staffordshire on Saturday, in an incident which also injured a 72-year-old man – while a 60-year-old woman died when a tree fell on her in Aberdeen.

Today, several schools in Aberdeenshire said they would be shut or delay opening as they struggled with power and heating problems – while ScotRail cancelled all of its services last night due to the intense conditions.

Engineers carried out safety checks through the night following an ‘exceptionally challenging weekend’ with a view to reopening lines this morning, but there were no LNER trains between Edinburgh and Newcastle until 9am. 

The Thames Barrier was closed due to a forecast tidal surge as a result of Corrie – with the 1,770ft structure, which has been shut about 200 times since 1982, protecting up to 640,000 properties along the river from flooding.

Wind gusts of 92mph were recorded in both Stornoway on the Western Isles and Inverbervie in Aberdeenshire overnight as Corrie began to hit the UK – while the top speed in England was 69mph at St Bees Head in Cumbria. It comes after a top gust during Malik of 93mph hit Brizlee Wood in Northumberland on Saturday. 

The wild weather will continue into today with a weather warning issued for high winds across northern England, which the Met Office said could cause danger to life from flying debris and damage to buildings and trees.

But temperatures will begin to climb well above the January average of 5C (41F) in the North and 7C (45F) in the South – reaching 10C (50F) today before peaking at 13C (55F) tomorrow and on Wednesday. The milder conditions are the result of a high pressure system to the South bringing in a westerly airflow in the aftermath of Corrie.

High winds from Storm Malik ripped the roof from a terrace house in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, pictured yesterday

A car crushed by fallen bricks in Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, yesterday after strong winds from Malik battered Britain 

There was a cold and blustery start to this morning after the stormy weekend across northern England and Scotland with gusts hitting 30mph even in London today, although wind speeds are set to slowly decrease today.

Wind speeds hit 80mph over wide areas of Scotland and 70mph in northern England over the weekend, and Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: ‘That is exceptionally strong for any time of the year.

The Met Office has issued two weather warnings for today

‘There is no wonder there were significant impacts such as power outages and damage to buildings. It is very unfortunate that things were worse than that for some people.’

In Staffordshire, the nine-year-old boy was crushed by a tree during a pheasant shoot in the grounds of a private estate, according to nearby residents yesterday. 

A 72-year-old man was also struck by the tree on the 404 acre The Heath House Estate near Tean, Staffordshire. He remained in hospital yesterday. 

The Heath House Estate boasts a gothic revival mansion which is used as a wedding venue with guest accommodation. 

A local resident said the boy was and the man were hit by a branch as the tree toppled during heavy winds on the final shoot of the morning.

The resident said that the last shoot was traditionally for the beaters – whose job is to flush birds from the undergrowth in the direction of the guns. 

It is understood that the victim was taking part with a relative who was one of the beaters.

‘I did not see the tree come down but there was a massive gust of wind and I had to find bricks to pin down my garden furniture covers’, the resident said.



‘I saw two air ambulances land in the field and a lot of police cars rushing to the scene. ‘This is popular pheasant shooting country. It is very tragic but it just appears that he was in the wrong place when that gust hit the tree.’

Boy, 9, crushed by a tree during pheasant shoot 

A nine-year-old boy was crushed by a tree during a pheasant shoot in the grounds of a private estate, according to nearby residents yesterday.

The boy is believed to have been fatally injured during the final shoot of the morning on Saturday as Storm Malik battered northern England and Scotland, where a woman aged 60 also died.

A 72-year-old man was also struck by the tree on the 404 acre The Heath House Estate near Tean, Staffordshire. He remained in hospital yesterday. 

The boy was crushed to death during a pheasant shoot on The Heath House Estate near Tean, Staffordshire, on Saturday

The Heath House Estate boasts a gothic revival mansion which is used as a wedding venue with guest accommodation. It was placed on the market last year for offers in excess of £6.25million.

A local resident said the boy was and the man were hit by a branch as the tree toppled during heavy winds on the final shoot of the morning.

The resident said that the last shoot was traditionally for the beaters – whose job is to flush birds from the undergrowth in the direction of the guns. It is understood that the victim was taking part with a relative who was one of the beaters.

‘I did not see the tree come down but there was a massive gust of wind and I had to find bricks to pin down my garden furniture covers’, the resident said.

‘I saw two air ambulances land in the field and a lot of police cars rushing to the scene. ‘This is popular pheasant shooting country.It is very tragic but it just appears that he was in the wrong place when that gust hit the tree.’

The estate outside Winnothdale has been home to the Philips family since the 1680s and played host to Florence Nightingale after the Crimean War. It has also featured on the Channel 4 series Country House Rescue.

There was no answer at the main house yesterday – although bottles of milk had been delivered and remained outside. The venue’s published phone number is no longer in use.

Police were called to reports that a tree had fallen on a boy and a man at 1pm on Saturday. Both were taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead.

The estate outside Winnothdale has been home to the Philips family since the 1680s and played host to Florence Nightingale after the Crimean War. 

It has also featured on the Channel 4 series Country House Rescue.

There was no answer at the main house yesterday – although bottles of milk had been delivered and remained outside. The venue’s published phone number is no longer in use.

Police were called to reports that a tree had fallen on a boy and a man at 1pm on Saturday. Both were taken to the Royal Stoke University Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead.

Earlier that day, a woman died when a tree fell on her on an Aberdeen housing estate amid gusts of 85mph.

Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie told how he was ‘badly shaken but still alive’ after an oak tree fell on his Newcastle driveway, destroying two cars including his new BMW.

High winds ripped the roof from a terrace house in nearby Gateshead, while a woman was extracted from a car in  Altrincham, Greater Manchester, with life-threatening injuries after it was crushed by a an uprooted tree while she was sat in it. 

Wintry showers were expected across northern parts of Scotland today, raising the risk of ice on untreated surfaces, while forecasters said up to 1in (1cm to 2cm) of snow could fall in some areas. 

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the impact of Storm Corrie is ‘likely to be significant’. She tweeted yesterday: ‘Work to repair the damage from Storm Malik continues. 

‘Tens of thousands have had power reconnected already – however, many will remain off supply again tonight and some, especially in north east, could be off into Tuesday. Welfare arrangements are in place.

‘Special arrangements remain in place for vulnerable customers and local resilience partnerships continue to work with councils to provide welfare support.’

In addition to hitting the North East, strong winds may affect parts of Norfolk, where large waves could hit the coast.

Forecasters said that people should beware of flying debris that could lead to injuries, and there may be some damage to buildings including tiles being blown from roofs.

Ice warnings were issued by the Met Office covering Grampian, Highlands and Eilean Siar, Strathclyde and Fife today as falling temperatures after Corrie may see some snowfall and turn untreated surfaces icy. 

Mr Burkill said: ‘It is not just the case of strong winds causing problems – there is also the ice risk across parts of Scotland through to the early part of Monday morning.

‘There will be some wintry showers. Emergency services are trying to get out, utility companies are trying to make repairs and so the icy conditions are not going to make that easier for them.’

Hospitality worker Clare Stirling-Turnbull, 47, of Powburn, Northumberland, said last night that she had been without heating and electricity since 9am on Saturday. 

To make matters worse, one of the children in her family of six has Covid and is currently isolating.

She said: ‘So we can’t go to relatives’ houses… we have no electric, no heating or hot water – we do have a wood burner so can heat one room.’

Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie told how he was ‘badly shaken but still alive’ after an oak tree fell on his Newcastle driveway, destroying two cars including his new BMW. The vehicle is pictured yesterday

A woman was extracted from a car with life-threatening injuries after it was crushed by a an uprooted tree while she was sat in it. A photo released over the weekend showed the Peugeot crushed by the heavy tree in Altrincham, Greater Manchester

The family were ‘well prepared’ thanks to a gas barbeque, candle and hot water bottles, she said.

Residents without power in North East slam lack of support as a ‘disgrace’ 

A man in Northumberland called the lack of support from his local power supplier ‘a disgrace’ as he faced a third consecutive day with no heating, hot water or electricity. 

Stewart Sexton, in Alnwick, lost power for 10 days after Storm Arwen and said he and his family do not feel well supported this time. ‘No sign of contact or support,’ the 58-year-old said. ‘Will we be last again? 

‘Why should we be last? We pay the same service and expect the same service. It’s a disgrace… nothing from councillors or MP to support us either – zilch.’

Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the MP for Mr Sexton’s constituency, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and said in her weekly email to constituents that she will ‘continue to push’ Northern Powergrid to compensate their customers after Arwen.

Mr Sexton is making use of a ‘small generator’ to power a lamp and a radio in his house. ‘Not enough to boil a kettle though,’ he said. ‘We have always had storms (but) never had days without power… even the ‘Beast from the East’ and snow in 2010 didn’t cut us off.’

Clare Stirling-Turnbull, in Powburn, Northumberland, also suffered power outages during Arwen and has been without heating and electricity since 9am on Saturday.

‘We are a family of six (which is) slightly more problematic this time as one of the children is currently isolating – she has Covid,’ the 47-year-old hospitality worker explained. ‘So we can’t go to relatives’ houses… we have no electric, no heating or hot water – we do have a wood burner so can heat one room.’

The family are ‘well prepared’ thanks to a gas barbeque, candle, and hot water bottles. Ms Stirling-Turnbull said that visually the storm was ‘frightening’ for her children.

‘There is still so much damage from Arwen, so much more debris… it’s heartbreaking for this area – vast areas of woods have just been flattened,’ she said. She acknowledged the ‘mammoth task’ Northern Powergrid is facing. ‘They have done all they possibly can, reconnection times are only an estimate. We fully understand that they try their utmost to reconnect as quickly as possible.’

Andy Bilclough, Northern Powergrid’s director of field operations, said last night: ‘The assessment of damage that we now have makes it clear that there is still a lot to do. We will get as much done as we can today for as long as it is safe to do so and get back out as soon as possible tomorrow.’

Northern Powergrid said that around 80,000 customers, almost all in Northumberland and County Durham, had been affected by power cuts.

Director Paul Glendinning said: ‘Given what we now know, we expect that around 4,000 customers will still be off supply as we go into tomorrow (Monday). We have confirmed that there is around 200 damage points on the low voltage network that will reconnect only a small number of customers for each repair.’

Some 7,500 households are expected to be without power by the end of last night, the Scottish Government said in an update at 7pm yesterday.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: ‘The power companies have drafted in a large number of additional engineers and are making significant inroads into reconnecting customers.

‘However, we need to be aware that the arrival of Storm Corrie could hamper these efforts and add further problems.

‘For those who will unfortunately not have power tonight, support with alternative accommodation is available to anyone who needs it.’

Richard Gough, of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, said ‘we expect the full restoration of customer supplies from both storms to extend into the early part of next week’.

The network said it ‘remains at red alert status for its north of Scotland licence area as its teams continue to respond to the significant damage caused to network infrastructure as a result of Storms Malik and Corrie’.

This morning, the network told BBC Scotland that around 30,000 customers across Scotland had been left without electricity following Corrie last night – in addition to around 7,000 still without power following Malik. 

Rural Aberdeenshire is among the hardest-hit areas and some customers in Angus, the Highlands, the Moray coast and Perthshire were still waiting for supplies to be restored.

Durham County Council, which offered free hot food and drinks to households who were without power, had teams out clearing blocked roads, footpaths and debris.

ScotRail said it withdrew all of its services last night in an effort to ‘protect passengers and railway staff’.

Network Rail Scotland, which said that ‘all parts of the railway are working together’, added that any other trains that ran last night had a maximum speed of 40mph. 

Kelly Whittington, director of property and speciality claims at insurance firm Aviva, said the company saw an increase of around 220 per cent in telephone calls and online claim notifications after Malik compared to a normal weekend. She added that it was closely monitoring the situation regarding Corrie.

Most claims were said to have come from people whose properties were affected by the strong winds, which left loose roof tiles, broken windows and damage caused by fallen trees. 

Train driver narrowly avoids derailment by slamming the brakes and leaving the front of his cab dangling over section of track in Norfolk washed away by high tides

A quick-thinking train driver prevented what could have been a major disaster after a flooded track began to buckle when water washed away its foundation.

The driver was able to come to a stop safely with the cab hanging over the affected part of the line but the train’s six passengers were left stranded and the incident caused major disruption to rail services yesterday.

The 7.25am Greater Anglia train was halted at Haddiscoe Bridge between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, Suffolk, but did not derail, according to the operator.

Greater Anglia apologised for the disruption and warned passengers that flood water was ‘making the railway unsafe’ between Reedham and Haddiscoe. 

Photos and videos have shown the extent of the collapse which made it dangerous for the train to traverse its regular route, as floodwater from the River Yare had washed the track’s foundation away. 

When the water subsided engineers were able to see how close the train had come to being derailed as the bed of the track – which runs next to the river – was washed away causing the rails to buckle.

Disaster averted: Floodwater washed away the land beneath a railway line in Norfolk this morning causing the train to stop because it was too dangerous to traverse the gaping hole

Shocking footage from Greater Anglia showed water gushing beneath the track which appears to be bucking under the weight of the train which had stopped just before the affected part

But the train was left stranded on the line – which runs near Lowestoft on the coast – and engineers have now said it could take up to 48 hours to repair the track. Dramatic footage shows the halted train just yards from the distorted line.

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: ‘Passenger safety is our absolute top priority.  There were no injuries as passengers were removed from the train before assessments on moving the train began.’

Replacement buses would operate on affected routes from tomorrow, it said. As the stretch of track was set away from stations and roads, the passengers were left stranded for almost an hour.

According to the Eastern Daily Press, the 8.17am service from Great Yarmouth to Norwich made a diversion to pick up the six stranded passengers from Reedham and continued with its journey to Norwich.

A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘A very high tide and winds have caused ballast, the stones that support the tracks, to be washed away at Haddiscoe on the Norwich to Lowestoft line.

Engineers have said it could take up to 48 hours for the train to be moved, causing widespread disruption. Pictured: An aerial view of the Norwich to Lowestoft line which was flooded yesterday

‘Thankfully no one has been injured, all passengers on the train that reported the incident have been taken away safely and the train has not derailed.

‘Engineers have been on site since Sunday morning and are assessing the situation. We expect the line to be closed for at least the next few days but will know more once the train has been removed, which is our first priority.

‘Services are being diverted onto the East Suffolk Line. Passengers wishing to travel should contact National Rail Services or Greater Anglia to get detailed service information. We will provide a further update tomorrow once we know more.’

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