Storm Arwen: Front of building collapses onto Blackpool Promenade as tourists scramble to safety
The front of a seafront building crumbled as holidaymakers scrambled to safety as gusts from Storm Arwen blasted Blackpool on Friday evening.
Bricks plummeted to the ground after falling from the building, on the corner of Springfield Road and the Promenade, opposite the Metropole hotel, at around 5.40pm.
Motorists saw their Illuminations journeys disrupted as police officers braved the howling winds and swirling sand to shut the Prom and cordon off the building, which has a banner advertising fireworks on the ground floor.
The first floor hosts holiday flats and were occupied at the time, a council spokeswoman said.
They managed to get to safety, with no injuries reported, and have either returned home or been given alternate accommodation, she said.
Firefighters from the resort's Forest Gate station helped with a 'small number of evacuations from adjoining properties', the service said.
Drivers were told to avoid the area until experts can determine whether the building is safe, the council spokeswoman added.
The electronic signs dotted around the resort this evening warned of the emergency, which came after hours of strong winds of up to 60mph.
Trams were also axed along the town centre stretch of track, with services running from the Cabin to Fleetwood stops in one direction and Starr Gate to the Tower in the other.
Although the storm saw the temporary halt of festivities on the Prom – with the new Star Flyer ride and ice rink shut as organisers battened down the hatches - other parts of the country have fared much worse.
A man in Northern Ireland was killed when a falling tree landed on his car, while people in parts of eastern Scotland were warned to bunker down and avoid travel for any reason.
The Met Office issued a rare 'red' warning for wind from 3pm today until 2am tomorrow as winds arrived to batter the country, with gusts forecast to be as high as 90mph and waves as high as 10 metres.
The red warning stretches along the east coast from Middlesbrough to beyond Aberdeen and is the first maximum alert to be issued since Storm Dennis in February 2020.
Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said the forecaster didn’t “issue red warnings lightly” and warned people to stay away from the affected area.
“People need to recognise, really, that we don’t issue red warnings lightly so, therefore, when we do, we feel that there is a much higher threat of risk,” he said.
“We urge people, obviously, to take action as a result of that and that action in this case is probably don’t go to the coast.
The warning, which is the highest the Met Office issues, means the impact is likely to be severe with the potential for damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down.
The Fylde coast was, along with much of the UK, issued with a 'yellow' warning, which means the chance of severe disruption is lower but still exists.
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