VIDEO: 80mph gales batter Fylde coast

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These were the scenes as ferocious winds reaching 80mph tore through the Fylde coast.

Stunned neighbours have today spoken of their shock when the front of a Blackpool chemist was ripped off by the gales, crushing a car parked outside.

Whitworth chemist, Bloomfield Road, after the front wall was blown off by gale-force winds

Whitworth chemist, Bloomfield Road, after the front wall was blown off by gale-force winds

At around 2pm, the front wall of Whitworth Chemist, in South Shore, came crashing down, leaving a gaping hole that exposed the roof cavity.

The wall crushed an employee’s car parked outside the front of the shop, on Bloomfield Road, but luckily nobody was hurt.

Nearby resident Christine Smith said: “There was just a loud bang and I thought ‘what on earth was that?’

“You just don’t expect that to happen – it was a good thing nobody was coming in or out at the time.

High winds in Blackpool. By Martin Bostock.

High winds in Blackpool. By Martin Bostock.

“It could have killed somebody.”

But store manager Vaser Salam said he was working hard to make sure customers were looked after despite the store having to close for the afternoon.

He said: “We have had people round to look at the building and we are hoping to be back open today.”

Another resident, who was inside her home at the time, said the wind had been causing havoc along the road all day.

High winds in Blackpool. By Martin Bostock.

High winds in Blackpool. By Martin Bostock.

She said: “It was a bit startling – I just heard a loud crash.

“It has been really bad down here and all the fences in the back are down too.

“My garden fence has been blown over.”

The noise was loud enough to catch the attention of people drinking in the Bloomfield Club and Institute over the road, who came out to see what had happened.

One man said: “We heard this loud noise but we just thought something had blown over.”

Elsewhere, trees, shop signs and even a lamp post fell victim to the vicious winds.

Rossall Point in Fleetwood recorded gusts of wind that reached 80mph at 8.20am yesterday, although the wind speed remained high throughout the day.

Several flights – to Tenerife, Dublin and the Isle of Man – were grounded at Blackpool Airport as 62mph crosswinds made for treacherous flying conditions.

Sections of Talbot Road and Cookson Street were closed yesterday amid safety concerns after a panel fell from the recently renovated Talbot Road multi-storey car park.

Bus were diverted while the closures were in place.

Blackpool Zoo also announced a rare closure as the wind prompted safety concerns.

Lytham St Annes police were kept busy as several roads had to be closed while firefighters made buildings safe that had been battered by the wind.

A fallen tree blocked traffic on the corner of Crosland Road North and Folkestone Road, St Annes, while officers also reported a streetlight being blown over on the corner of Greenwich Drive and Kingston Drive, Ansdell.

The wind also affected the motorways, with junction 31 of the M6, at Preston, closing twice because of fallen trees on Brockholes Brow.

There were reports of a fallen tree causing delays to trains between Blackpool and Preston yesterday morning. National Rail confirmed there had been an obstruction on the line.

Multiple Virgin trains travelling between London Euston and Glasgow Central were cancelled or delayed yesterday, with speed restrictions in place between Preston and Carlisle.

First TransPennine Express services from Manchester Airport to Preston were also affected and Northern Rail said its trains from Manchester Piccadilly to Preston were delayed due to congestion on the line.