Harrogate battered by high winds

Harrogate residents faced chaos last week as high winds closed shops, schools and pulled down trees blocking roads across the district.

North Yorkshire Police dealt with over 20 wind related incidents before midday last Thursday (December 5) and several roads were blocked by fallen trees.

tis  Storm damage on Kings Road.  (131205M4a)

tis Storm damage on Kings Road. (131205M4a)

Harrogate Advertiser photographer, Adrian Murray, narrowly missed being hit by a falling tree on Hookstone Road.

He said: “I saw the tree fall down right in front of the car.

“If I had been a few seconds ahead that would have been it.”

He added: “It would have been really bad if the tree feel 20 minutes later because the traffic is usually queuing all along that road.

“It was quite lucky really.”

His wife Jackie Murray who was travelling in the car with him said: “It was quite close, if we had been a couple of seconds faster we would have ended up under it, so that’s a bit scary.

“The tree came down really quickly.”

Killinghall Primary School was forced to close due to safety concerns.

Work is being carried out to repair the roof of a classroom which collapsed during the summer holidays.

A school spokesperson confirmed the school had to send children home for safety reasons after winds blew the plastic sheeting off the roof.

Shops in Harrogate Town Centre were eerily deserted with gusts of up to 50mph putting people off their Christmas shopping.

The Carphone Warehouse on Cambridge Street was taped off after the sign fell and smashed in the street.

RHS Harlow Carr were also forced to close to visitors and trees were blown down in the woodland.

Paul Cook, curator at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, said: “The decision to close the garden was due to the danger from gusts of wind, we had average wind speeds of over 30mph but gusts far in excess of that and trees and branches fell over a period of time not just in the early morning. The biggest of our trees to fall a magnificent Abies grandis, Grand Fir, fell in the afternoon.”

The Harrogate Advertiser’s website saw a huge increase in visitor numbers as thousands of people logged on to read about the damage caused by the storm.

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