Relief as electricity restored after 10 days following Storm Arwen

·4 min read

People have described their relief after they were finally reconnected after 10 days without electricity following Storm Arwen.

Northern Powergrid is in its “last push” to restore electricity in areas of the country after it was cut off by the storm which battered the country during the last days of November.

The same homes are now being hit by Storm Barra which, although not expected to be as severe as Storm Arwen, has already made itself felt across the UK and Ireland, with gusty winds battering communities.

Storm Arwen
An Openreach engineer fixes telephone lines near Barnard Castle in County Durham in the aftermath of Storm Arwen (PA)

The Met Office said it is likely that Barra will not be as bad as Arwen, but that disruption to the travel network is likely, with snow and heavy rain in some areas until Wednesday.

Elsewhere, some short-term loss of power is possible due to the wind.

On Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said more than 1,000 homes were still without power but that he was assured by Northern Powergrid boss Phil Jones that “affected properties would be reconnected tomorrow (Tuesday) at the latest”.

Waves crash into the shore
Waves crashing onto the rocks in Bantry Bay West Cork (Andy Gibson/PA)

Mr Johnson said “too many people have spent too long without power” and the situation in northern England was not acceptable.

Stewart Sexton, 57, said the power at his home near Alnwick, Northumberland, has finally been restored after 10 days.

Mr Sexton said he and his partner, Jane, were forced to live without power from November 26 after a telegraph pole in their village snapped.

He said they used candles for light and a wood-burning stove to heat pans of water to wash and make hot drinks.

Fresh snowfall
Snowfall in Leadhills, South Lanarkshire (Jane Barlow/PA)

He said: “Our electricity was connected at around 6pm last night (Monday). We were 10 days without heating and I have no idea how we coped. It was worse for a lot of people but was still a nightmare.

“It has been absolutely exhausting. Even today I still haven’t warmed through yet.

“It feels like you’ve been camping or to a 10-day music festival. How elderly people and people with young children coped is beyond me.”

Mr Sexton said the light at the end of the tunnel, and in the house, came at about 6pm on Monday after engineers had spent up to six hours fixing the telegraph pole.

He said: “It’s such a relief.”

Forecasters say there is “a small chance” that larger-than-usual waves in coastal areas could present a risk of injury or potentially a threat to life if winds whip street furniture and beach material into the air.

Gusts of 70mph have already been recorded at Berry Head in south Devon, and on Sherkin Island, southwest of Co Cork in Ireland.

Snow has started falling in Scotland and high winds have caused disruption on the roads.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said staff have been put on alert in areas that could be worst affected to try minimise any disruption.

Schools in Dumfries and Galloway were forced to close because of the weather.

Stranraer Academy was shut after the wind caused structural damage to the roof, the council said, and Drummore School closed after trees were blown down.

Stormy weather
Sandbags outside a property in Langstone, Hampshire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Met Office spokeswoman Nicky Maxey said: “We are not expecting the impacts of Barra to be as bad as we saw with Arwen.

“Storm Barra will bring strong winds and heavy rainfall to many parts of the UK today.

“We may see some snow on the higher ground, too.

Winter weather Dec 7th 2021
Diversion signs in Bantry, in County Cork which flooded after Storm Barra hit the UK and Ireland with disruptive winds, heavy rain and snow (PA)

“It is unlikely to be as impactful as Storm Arwen last week but there will be blustery conditions so people should still be prepared.”

Yellow weather warnings for wind and snow are in place across much of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, although the west of Ireland will receive the worst of the storm on Tuesday.

The Environment Agency had 11 flood warnings in place as of 3.30pm on Tuesday.

They are along the south coast of England between Dorset and Hampshire, in Christchurch, Beaulieu, Fareham, and Langstone and Emsworth, and along the Essex coast at Coalhouse Fort.

There are also 55 flood alerts also in place, meaning flooding is possible.

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