Storm Arwen causes disruption across the Harrogate district as recovery work continues

The Harrogate district was battered by Storm Arwen over the weekend, leaving many properties without power, parts of the region damaged by high winds and a number of events cancelled.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 12:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 12:38 pm

The Met Office issued a number of weather warnings as winds of up to 60mph swept through on Friday evening and much of Saturday - bringing flurries of snow and icy roads.

Emergency services were on high alert throughout the weekend as a window fell from the top floor of Harrogate Tower into Parliament Street, a lamp post was blown over in the town centre, trees were damaged on the Stray, Penny Pot Lane was closed due to a tree blocking the road and a bus stop on Wetherby Road was smashed by falling debris.

The emergency services, councils and utilities services across North Yorkshire have been continuing to carry out checks on those residents who may need extra help, particularly in areas affected by the power outages.

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Storm Arwen caused major disruption across the Harrogate District at the weekend, causing villagers in Greenhow to dig their way out of their homes

This includes looking after those with specialist care needs to ensure they can get all the help that they need.

North Yorkshire Highways and the County Council’s highways teams have been working around the clock to keep roads clear and deal with over 200 reports of fallen trees.

They have been supported by farm contractors in clearing roads, and, where necessary, have brought in specialist contractors to help clear roads.

Northern Powergrid have been working to restore electricity to over 240,000 of their customers that have been affected by power cuts.

A winter wonderland in the village of Greenhow

They have drafted in more than 100 extra engineers and all planned work remains postponed at present with all teams focused on activities to get customers back on supply.

Rod Gardner, Northern Powergrid’s Major Incident Manager, said: “The impact from Storm Arwen has been one of the worst we’ve experienced in the last 20 years.

“The response effort we have coordinated is one of the largest we have ever undertaken with our people, contractors and other network operators joining us to help tackle the huge amount of damage and complex faults that we have to manage as a result of Storm Arwen.

Mackenzies Farm Shop in Blubberhouses were forced to cancel their Christmas Taster Weekend due to a power outage caused by Storm Arwen

“We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from other UK network companies, who have provided resources as part of the industry’s mutual support arrangements, which exist for extreme events like this.”

Northern Powergrid is reinforcing the importance that local people who spot any damaged cables or equipment must not approach the area as equipment may still be live and pose a risk of electrocution and customers must contact the company immediately by calling 105.

The Ferris Wheel, Carousel and Helter Skelter - which have all been recently installed by Harrogate BID ahead of the festive season - also suffered disruption and were closed at certain points throughout the weekend due to the extreme weather conditions.

The storm also forced the Harrogate pantomime to be postponed, due to a leak in the theatre’s roof repairs.

There were over 200 reports of fallen trees across the region, caused by Storm Arwen

Mackenzies Farm Shop in Blubberhouses reopened on Monday following a two-day closure due to a power outage caused by the storm.

The shop had planned to host a Christmas Taster Weekend, which is usually their busiest weekend of the year, but was unable to go ahead due to the lack of power.

Paul Palmer, Owner of Mackenzies Farm Shop, said: “We couldn’t believe it when we realised the power was out.

“The Christmas Taster Weekend is one of our busiest weekends of the year, where customers can come in and try samples of products and get right in the festive mood.

“Unfortunately, this year the weather got the better of us and it wasn’t meant to be.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to all the suppliers who prepared samples and were willing to give up their time. We’re hopeful we can arrange something similar in the upcoming weeks, albeit on a smaller scale, but no less festive.”

Public transport was also affected over the weekend, with LNER and Northern Rail advising customers to defer any travel plans due to closures on some routes.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Storm Arwen provided an early and very rigorous test of the county council’s new company, NY Highways, and of our winter gritting teams.

“I am very pleased to confirm that ploughing and gritting operations were carried out very smoothly and efficiently.

"The heavy snowfall overnight on Friday, November 26, combined with storm force winds, created some of the worst conditions experienced in our county for a few years.

"By early this week, all roads have been re-opened but problems still remain with electricity supplies to some communities.

“Our highways teams have worked with our health and adult service colleagues to provide support, especially to vulnerable residents who have no power.

“I remind residents who are planning to travel by road that local road and weather conditions can be viewed on the NYCC website thanks to the many weather stations and cameras which the county has in various locations.

“Also, requests to top up grit bins and heaps can be submitted via our website."

Anyone who is still having issues relating to a power cut should contact Northern Powergrid via www.northernpowergrid.com/contact or call their 24-hour helpline on 105.