Storms hit district

3/1/12    A 4 x 4  vehicles struggles through the flooded road trying to get to Bouthwaite in Nidderdale.
3/1/12 A 4 x 4 vehicles struggles through the flooded road trying to get to Bouthwaite in Nidderdale.

STRONG winds and heavy rain have been affecting the Harrogate district - but conditions are set to improve.

The new year has brought gale-force winds and flash flooding to the area, with numerous trees blown down and some roads covered by flood water.

However, the second week of January is set to see calmer weather, according to the Met Office, with none of the high winds of the first days of the month.

In Harrogate itself, residents woke on Thursday morning to rubbish strewn across the roads and several trees blown down, including on the Stray, after a night of gusts of more than 60mph. Despite numerous incidents, there were no reports of serious injuries.

Around 6.40am, a falling tree hit a van on Wath Lane in Copgrove, but nobody was injured. Overnight on Wednesday, the Christmas lights along Knaresborough High Street were blown down and hit a passing vehicle.

The A1 was badly affected, with three lorries overturning on Wednesday evening. Two people suffered superficial injuries in one of the incidents, while another near Allerton Park saw the lorry left overnight because of the poor conditions, causing delays for commuters on Thursday morning.

A large tree fell across the road between Pateley Bridge and Wath on Thursday morning, bringing down electricity cables. Police said the power still appeared to be working and the highways department and utility company were working to carry out repairs yesterday morning.

But conditions were expected to improve over the weekend, with further disruption unlikely.

A Met Office spokesperson said: “If anything the outlook is looking a little better with an improving picture over the next few days.

“It’s going to be bright and sunny on Friday with it growing increasingly cloudy over the day, but it will certainly be less windy, with maybe a few spots of rain later in the day.

“Feeding into the weekend, you’re looking at bright sunny spells on the Saturday with, perhaps, some showers and then much the same heading into Sunday.

“Winds might pick up on Saturday a little, with a few fresh or strong winds and wind speeds of up to 25 miles an hour over the weekend but certainly nothing like as bad as it was earlier in the week.

“Top temperatures over the weekend are likely to reach 7C or even 8C.”

l For more on the impact of the stormy weather, see this week’s Advertiser.