Damage and delays as storms hit coast

Rough seas on South Promenade, Blackpool

Rough seas on South Promenade, Blackpool

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GALE force winds and severe rain have caused damage and delays on the Fylde.

An elderly woman was forced to flee her home when the powerful winds brought a wall crashing down into her front garden.

The gable crumbled under the strain of the winds and dislodged the home’s chimney on Brook Road, Lytham, causing the road to be closed for two hours as firemen made the home safe.

Robert Jones, a resident on Brook Road, said: “This is the worst damage I have seen in Lytham.

“There is nothing supporting the wall and bricks have been removed by the wind and now the fire service are having to dismantle the chimney.

“The weather is very rough in Lytham and all along the front and a lot of things are taking off.”

Student nurse Catherine Openshaw, 26, lives two doors down from the damaged home.

She added: “There was a big gust of wind and this house was shaking then I heard the bricks falling.

“I didn’t know what had happened and I didn’t see anything until the firemen turned up and closed the road.”

Fire crews including an aerial ladder platform from Lytham dismantled all of the affected brickwork.

Keith Vernon, chief building control officer at Fylde Council, said: “This is one of the major incidents we have had in recent weeks.

“Nobody is injured and the lady is with a neighbour, but from a safety point of view, I’m worried about the structural stability of the home so we are taking the chimney down.

“Once the chimney and the dangers are removed, she may be able to move back in.”

Watch manager Chris Newsham, from Lytham Fire Station, said: “The gusts were reasonably strong and there is the possibility the gable was damaged before.”

Heavy rain also caused rural roads to flood.

Staining Old Road, Staining and Mythop Road, Marton, were partially submerged by water, while bin collections were disrupted in Fylde.

Waves battered all of Blackpool’s Piers throughout the course of the day, but caused minimal damage.

Peter Sedgwick (pictured), owner of North Pier, said: “It has been very rough and wind was blowing in from one side to the other. It was very hard to walk down and a couple of panels of glass blew out in the Sun Lounge.”

A spokesman for the Met Office described the weather as “highly changeable” over the next two weeks.

He said: “Thursday to Saturday will be bright and stormy, including ice, frost and wintery showers.

“From the 18-27 December there will be sunny spells with showers, cold with frost, ice and wind.”