A planeload of 156 easyJet passengers had to spend an uncomfortable night at Liverpool Airport after their flight was cancelled due to Storm Arwen – while 60,000 homes were left without power as temperatures plunged as low as -9C.
Mother-of-two Jodie McGeown, 34, who was trying to fly back to Belfast, said passengers were forced to wait around in the ‘freezing’ terminal after being told ‘all the hotels in Liverpool were full’.
She told MailOnline: ‘After checking in as normal, we were delayed for a long time at the gate and finally boarded at 11.30pm for a flight that was due to do at 8.30pm. We were told we had to wait for a de-icer to come so the aircon had to be turned off.
‘We sat there for two more hours and the temperature was sweltering, then we were told we had to get off as the crew were out of time, so we were sent back to the airport which was now closed.
‘The only place we could hang around was in the check-in area which was freezing with no seats. The brought some metal folding chairs and told us ‘all the hotel rooms in Liverpool were full’, which I don’t believe for a second.’
Mrs McGeown, who had been in Liverpool for a friend’s birthday party, said passengers raided the check-in desks for portable electric heaters and were given a meagre supply of snacks from vending machines which had been opened.
‘It was like some kind of survival game,’ she said. ‘I didn’t sleep a wink and I don’t think anyone else did either.’
She said she was finally flown out on a flight early this morning. ‘Finally we were flown out on the 6.40am flight, but all the poor passengers who were due to take that flight were bumped off and put on a later flight,’ she said.
‘We received an email from easyJet which offered us a hotel room at 3am – about 90 minutes before we had to check-in for the new flight – so even if there had been a room, no-one could have taken it. ‘It was a complete s***show.’ EasyJet were contacted for comment.
Meanwhile passengers experienced a ‘six-hour journey from hell’ after they were stuck onboard a grounded Ryanair plane ‘without food or water’ at Birmingham Airport. They were trapped on board flight FR663 on the tarmac in Birmingham after ‘bad weather prompted delays for the airline and handling agent Swissport’ on Saturday.
Lucy Upton, 35, and Karen Paskin, 47, experienced a ‘six-hour journey from hell’ after they were stuck onboard a grounded Ryanair plane ‘without food or water’ at Birmingham Airport, according to Birmingham Live.
They had already switched their £800 flights to Portugal for an overnight trip to Dublin after hen do plans were cancelled due to Covid.
It came as more than 60 people cut off by 3ft of snow at Britain’s highest pub have spent a third night there as bitter winds brought a chaotic start to the week across the country with temperatures dropping to as low as -8.7C (16.3F).
Passengers at Liverpool Airport were forced to wait around in the ‘freezing’ terminal last night after their flight to Belfast was cancelled
Mother-of-two Jodie McGeown, 34, (left) who was trying to fly back to Belfast, said passengers were forced to wait around in the ‘freezing’ terminal after being told ‘all the hotels in Liverpool were full’. She said passengers raided check-in desks for electric heaters (right)
Mrs McGeown told MailOnline: ‘It was like some kind of survival game. I didn’t sleep a wink and I don’t think anyone else did either.’ (pictured are other easyJet passengers at the terminal last night
It was a cold and snowy start to the day in the picturesque North Warwickshire village of Old Arley this morning
There were plenty of people out sledging at Warley Woods Park in Birmingham this morning after snow settled on the ground
Rosanna Christian, 12, tries to roll a gigantic snow ball at Warley Woods Park – which has seen the first major snow of the year
Wilbur the dog fetching a piece of wood at Warley Woods Park, which consists of 100 acres of historic parkland
A lady walks a dog in Reynolds Park, Liverpool after parts of the UK experienced the ‘coldest night of the season’ with temperatures dropping to as low as minus 10C
A cold weather alert was issued by the UK Health Security Agency on Friday prompting advice to people to try to stay warm and look out for those most at risk from the effects of the chilly conditions. Pictured: A man and woman walk a dog in Woolton Woods, Liverpool
EasyJet passengers lying on baggage belts at Liverpool Airport yesterday after their flight to Belfast was cancelled
Passengers were handed metal chairs but reportedly told they could not be sent to hotels because they were ‘all full’
Some 60 people have been involved in the lock-in at the remote Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales, and are pictured last night
The Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales is pictured yesterday, after 61 people became trapped there amid heavy snowfall
The lock-in at the remote Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales is expected to end today after 61 staff, guests and musicians became trapped in the 17th-century hotel on Friday night following heavy snowfall during Storm Arwen.
Many guests have been sleeping on makeshift beds and mattresses on the floor, but they have been treated to films on a projector screen, a quiz night and a buffet meal – with some admitting they ‘don’t want to leave’.
Oasis tribute band Noasis has been providing musical entertainment as the group have been stranded since their gig on Friday at the historic pub – which at 1,732ft (528m) above sea level is the highest in the UK.
The pub’s managers hope Northern Power engineers will today make safe the fallen cables that blocked the road out – but it comes as tens of thousands of households remain without electricity in the wake of Storm Arwen.
Parts of the UK have been blanketed as the storm claimed the lives of three people when trees were blown down and 100mph winds wreaked havoc, damaging buildings and causing disruption on roads and railways.
The Met Office issued ice warnings across the country this morning amid a widespread ‘Arctic shot’ and concerns that icy patches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths would increase the chances of accidents.
At least 450,000 homes were without power in England, North Wales and Scotland – with 32,000 across the North East, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire enduring a third night in the dark along with almost 40,000 north of the Border.
There were no trains between Edinburgh and Newcastle, with London North Eastern Railway (LNER) saying it hoped to resume trains north of Tyneside later today after cancelling them late on Friday due to the storm.
Meanwhile the Premier League football match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur yesterday was called off little under an hour before kick-off with snow falling as fast as groundsmen could remove it.
Some guests have claimed they ‘don’t want to leave’ the Tan Hill Inn, from which heavy snow is pictured yesterday
Guest have been treated to films on a projector screen, a quiz night and a buffet meal at the Tan Hill Inn, pictured yesterday
Many guests have been sleeping on makeshift beds and mattresses on the floor at the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales
Snow as seen from the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales yesterday, where guests continue to be trapped overnight
Some 61 people became trapped in the Tan Hill Inn – pictured yesterday – as a result of heavy snowfall following Storm Arwen
Snow in the doorway of the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales is pictured yesterday, after guests became trapped on Friday
Many parts of the country fell below freezing last night, with Shap in Cumbria the coldest place at -8.7C (16.3F). It was the coldest temperature there since February 11, when it got down to -11.6C (11.2F).
At the Tan Hill Inn, as the lock-in continued last night, the pub’s general manager, Nicola Townsend, 51, said: ‘It’s just been lovely and everyone is in really good spirits… it’s a really good atmosphere.
The Met Office has issued an ice warning for Britain today
‘They’ve formed quite a friendship… like a big family is the best way I can describe it. One lady actually said ‘I don’t want to leave’.’
On Saturday evening, guests thanked the seven members of staff stuck inside with them by presenting them with a jar filled with around £300 in cash.
Yesterday, the pub laid on a traditional lunch before guests and staff work together to decorate the bar for Christmas and prepare for an evening of karaoke.
Ms Townsend, from Leyburn, said she feels many of those stranded – including herself – will stay in touch long after they have been freed.
Martin Overton, 44, travelled to the pub on Friday to watch Noasis and is staying in his campervan.
Mr Overton, a BBC rugby league commentator, said: ‘I feel great… everyone is looking after each other. I have learned that when you come to the Tan Hill Inn, you need to take the forecast seriously.
‘The place is very exposed… it is what makes it special but in future I will pack a few more warm clothes and a couple of shovels.’
Ms Townsend said they first realised they were trapped after a blizzard on Friday.
‘The blizzards were horrendous, how the snow was drifting, it was going all the way up to almost the bedroom windows,’ she said.
A tunnel has since been dug out of the front door of the pub, but nearby roads are not yet usable in part due to fallen power cables.
Storm Arwen destroys Christmas attraction on ‘world’s oldest railway’
Storm Arwen’s winds have destroyed a ‘magical’ Christmas attraction on the ‘world’s oldest railway’.
The sold-out, 90-minute North Pole Express experience is popular with families who take the train from East Tanfield station in the North East of England to see Santa and receive a Christmas present.
A volunteer from Tanfield Railway, where trains run on a rail dating to 1725, said the damage is ‘really disappointing’.
‘There’s a lot of hard work put in (and) a lot of volunteer time put in,’ David Watchman said. ‘We’ve seen some extreme weather, we’re always prepared… but the winds were on a different level last night, and there’s only so much you can tie down and prepare for. It’s been totally different to what we’ve experienced before.’
The North Pole Express experience at East Tanfield station in North East England which has been damaged by Storm Arwen
The 32-year-old described the volunteer-run attraction, which was supposed to open on Saturday, as ‘a really magical show’.
‘We’ve got some festive animals which the kids can meet and get their photograph taken with, we’ve got arts and crafts,’ he said. ‘And then you get on our steam train and (go on) a magical journey to the North Pole where you visit Santa at his specially built Grotto.’
The team at Tanfield Railway said they were ‘devastated’ by the destruction of the North Pole at Andrew’s House station.
‘We’ll do everything within our power to ensure that disappointment is only temporary,’ they said in a Facebook post, which has had more than 250 comments of support from local people.
The sold-out, 90-minute North Pole Express experience is popular with families who take the train from East Tanfield station to see Santa and receive a Christmas present
Mr Watchman added it was not until Saturday morning that volunteers ‘realised the extent’ of the damage.
‘We’ve got to admit we were keeping an eye on the weather. We didn’t expect it at the levels that we had here,’ he said. ‘You know, when we’ve got tents blown away and things like that, we realised (it is) a different level of weather storm. Seeing people visiting the railway, the smiles on people’s faces and the kids seeing Santa, (cancelling is) the last thing that we want to do.’
Mr Watchman said volunteers have been contacting ticket-holders and are hoping the North Pole Express will be ready to open by Sunday.
‘As we speak, we’ve got a team of volunteers on the go, putting another tent up, fixing the buildings (and) clearing the trees,’ he said. ‘We’ve spent the last six weeks setting up for (this)… so we’re still hard at work trying to get things prepared for tomorrow.’
Ms Townsend said mountain rescuers had made it through the snow to attend to one guest who requires medical attention for an ongoing condition.
In the village of Audlem in Cheshire, the 30ft village Christmas tree came crashing down just hours after people gathered for its festive lights switch-on on Friday evening, although no one was hurt.
And almost 40 dogs had to be rescued after the roof of their kennels in Trimdon, County Durham, was torn off by the winds. In South Tyneside, strong winds brought down a total of 160 trees.
In the historic Domesday Book community of Audlem in Cheshire, the 30ft village Christmas tree came crashing down just hours after people gathered for its festive lights switch-on on Friday evening.
No one was hurt, and as luck would have it a team of construction workers were having a festive night out in The Lord Combermere Pub and rushed out to help get the huge tree moved off the main roads to avoid any further danger.
Organiser Neil Goodyear said: ‘We were monitoring weather hour by hour on Friday and decided the event could go ahead knowing strong gusts would hit us later on.
‘The wind was blowing down Cheshire street into the square and it was about 10.15pm when a very strong gust snapped the tree.’
Teams were yesterday planning to trim the bottom off before putting it back up again.
Residents of a holiday park near Hartlepool who caught the full force of Arwen described the experience as ‘like something out of Mad Max’.
Ian McPherson, who had been due to spend the weekend at Crimdon Dene Holiday Park with his wife and three children for his 49th birthday, said Friday night’s wind was so strong that they feared for their lives and tried to go home.
‘When I looked out the window I saw a caravan and it was floating down the hill on its gas bottle,’ he said.
‘It was like something out of Mad Max. I thought it was the end of the world, that’s what it felt like.
‘I thought our time was up.’
However, they were advised not to drive during the storm and instead spent the night on the floor of the site office.
Meanwhile almost 40 dogs were rescued after the roof of their kennels was torn off by the storm force winds.
Greyhound trainer Tom Heilbron discovered the scene of devastation on Saturday morning at Link Kennels in Trimdon, County Durham.
The dogs managed to escape injury and were quickly taken into other nearby kennels to keep them safe until repairs are made.
In Wrexham, North Wales, drinkers at a Wetherspoons pub were accused of faking injuries when chunks of plaster began falling from the ceiling.
A spokesman said ‘two customers pretended they had been hit’ but that this has been disproved by CCTV footage, with paramedics called to the scene later stood down.
The pub, the N&S Wales Bank, remained shut over the weekend for safety checks.
Met Office forecaster Tom Morgan said the bitter end of autumn was due to an ‘Arctic shot’ of weather which had moved south across the UK in the wake of the first named storm of the season.
‘As Storm Arwen is clearing out to Europe, a cold northerly flow of wind has been left behind in the UK, causing some of the bitterly cold temperatures we’ve seen,’ he said.
Many parts of the country fell below freezing on Saturday night, with Shap in Cumbria coldest at -6.4C (20.5F).
Those low temperatures led to renewed widespread, settling snow across upland areas of northern England and into the Midlands yesterday, with wintry showers further south.
The Angel of the North in Gateshead stood among fields of white as a lone walker braved the icy paths below.
As snow fell in the area, couples could be seen taking selfies while runners wrapped up warm braving the elements.
‘Even if you do live in a city, you can expect to be scraping frost, ice or even snow off your cars on Monday morning,’ he added.
Snow covers fields in the village of Keele in Staffordshire after Storm Arwen hit Britain on Friday and over the weekend
Charlie, 33, clears snow from his car in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, this morning wearing only a pair of shorts
After overnight temperatures plungewell below freezing, dawn breaks over a snowy landscape as the the first sunlight of the day is reflected on the River Dove today near Mayfield, Ashbourne. The river marks the Derbyshire, and Staffordshire border
Met Office yellow ice warnings were in place until this morning from the north-east of England down to the south coast and across eastern parts of Scotland.
‘Taking each day as it comes and working round the clock’: I’m A Celeb bosses insist they aim to ‘have the show back on air in quickest time possible’ – following slew of disasters including Storm Arwen devastation and Richard Madeley’s illness
I’m A Celebrity bosses have insisted they are ‘working around the clock’ to get the show up and running, following the devastation of Storm Arwen and Richard Madeley’s untimely departure.
The show has been beset by disasters – with fans begging for the programme to go on hiatus until it can return to Australia while it has now emerged it could be set for even more delays.
Insiders at ITV told MailOnline: ‘This is an on-going live situation and we’re taking each day as it comes and working round the clock. Our priority is safely getting the whole site back up and running which means the show is back on air in the quickest time possible.
I’m A Celebrity bosses have insisted they are ‘working around the clock’ to get the show up and running, following the devastation of Storm Arwen and Richard Madeley’s departure
‘We’re currently not in a position to confirm when we’ll be back on air but we’ll absolutely keep you posted when we get more updates.’
The first week of the reality show, now in its second year at Wales’ Gwrych Castle, has already seen the departure of hotly-anticipated contestant Richard due to illness, cancelled shows due to extreme weather conditions and stars removed from the castle after Storm Arwen sent a 100ft tree crashing into a wall of the building.
Two episodes of the show have been cancelled this weekend because of the disruption to production caused by the storm with the castle said to currently be ‘looking like a war zone’.
Considerable damage was sustained to the grounds of the castle where the production crew have set up shop, with scaffolding knocked over and the roof of a marquee ripped off.
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly shared a video to their Instagram account on Sunday night admitting bosses were still unsure when the programme would be ‘up and running’ again
A source told The Sun there’s every chance the show’s stars could have to be removed from the castle again with a 700-mile wide Arctic weather front set for Abergele, North Wales in the coming days.
The insider said: ‘The nightmare caused by Storm Arwen is never ending. Bosses are working around the clock to get the show back on air — but with more storms forecast for the coming days, the morale is low.’
Hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly shared a video to their Instagram account on Sunday night admitting show bosses were still unsure when the programme would be ‘up and running’ again.
These warned of ‘icy patches’ on roads and pavements, meaning accidents and slips and falls are ‘more likely’.
In addition a cold weather alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency on Friday remains in place until today.
It advises people to try to stay warm and look out for those most at risk from the effects of the chilly conditions such as the elderly and anyone with heart and lung problems.
The Energy Networks Association, the industry body for UK power suppliers, said 193,000 homes were still without power as of 5pm on Sunday but 800,000 had seen supplies restored.
The organisation said the damage has been three times greater than that experienced during the ‘Beast From The East’ storm in 2018, and the worst storm to affect power supplies in 15 years.
A spokesperson said: ‘Our members are working with local resilience partners, the British Red Cross and emergency services to provide extra help and support. Welfare centres have also been set up and dedicated teams are contacting vulnerable customers.’
Northern Powergrid, which supplies energy to the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, had said 240,000 of its customers lost service but on Sunday announced supply had been restored to 200,000.
The company added more than 1,100 instances of damage have been recorded, with more being discovered as repairs continue.
Electricity North West, which provides energy for an area between the Scottish border and Stockport, said 77,000 of 83,000 customers who lost power had seen their supply restored by 9am on Sunday.
SP Energy Networks, a supplier for parts of Scotland, England and Wales, said 147,000 customers had been reconnected but 15,000 are still affected – mainly in the Borders, Dumfriesshire, Fife, Lothian, Dee Valley, Oswestry, Mid Wales, and North Wales.
Western Power Distribution, which supplies energy to the Midlands, parts of Wales and the South West, said it had 4,575 customers without power as of 3.15pm on Sunday.
Police in Scotland warned yesterday that some of those affected by power cuts could be without electricity for another day as engineers struggle to repair the grid, while welfare centres were set up to shelter the worst affected.
By yesterday, SP Energy Networks had yet to reconnect 6,000 customers in the Borders, Dumfriesshire, Fife and the Lothians. The figure for SSE – whose engineers remained on red alert – was 32,000.
Arwen, which triggered a rare red weather warning when it hit on Friday, caused the deaths of three people as hurricane-force winds battered the North and East of Scotland, the North of England and Wales.
A 35-year-old man was killed on Friday when a tree fell on his pick-up truck on the Dyce to Hatton of Fintray road in Aberdeenshire.
Two police officers attending the scene had a lucky escape when their vehicle was crushed by another falling tree.
A further two people died, in Northern Ireland and at Ambleside in the Lake District.
Police Scotland Chief Superintendent George Macdonald, who is responsible for the North-East division, said yesterday: ‘I declared a major incident yesterday when it became clear that the area was suffering the worst incidences for many years in terms of power outages and other effects on the people of the area.
‘The decision was taken to stand up the Local Resilience Partnership, which is made up of the emergency services, local authorities, utility providers and other bodies, groups and voluntary agencies.’
He said in some areas it could take ‘up to another 36 to 48 hours to recover and get back to normal in terms of power and water supplies, and other essential services’.
Aberdeenshire Council confirmed yesterday that schools in the area will be closed today and tomorrow because of the ongoing weather issues. NHS Grampian said vaccination centres in Aberdeenshire would close today. It urged patients to rearrange appointments.
Power companies promised to accommodate people in hotels if their supply was still off last night. Welfare centres were established and affected families were told they would be compensated for the cost of buying hot food.
A spokesman for SP Energy Networks said: ‘Storm Arwen brought winds of over 90mph and has caused some of the worst damage to our network we have experienced in many years. Our engineers have been out working since Friday night to try to get power on as quickly and safely as possible.
‘We’ve seen over 329 faults in Scotland and 551 in England and Wales. Since the beginning of the storm, engineers have reconnected 127,000 customers.
A man walks across wintry ground during sunrise in Priory Park in Warwick this morning
A beautiful sunrise over a snowy landscape in Oxford this morning following a weekend of sub-zero temperatures
The sun rises over snow-covered houses in Wakefield this morning after heavy snow fell in parts of West Yorkshire
‘In many areas, damage has been severe, caused by fallen trees and other wind-blown debris, and engineers are also dealing with impacted road networks, making access to some of our repairs even harder.’
The spokesman added: ‘The time it is taking us to get our customers back on is reflective of the number of faults and severity of the damage to the network; where normally we would deal with one or two faults on a line and be able to get a number of customers on, we’ve got several faults on one line, and where this is repaired we’re only able to restore power to a handful of customers.’
A number of care homes for the elderly used Facebook yesterday to appeal for hot food for residents. One manager wrote on the Fubar News site she had 28 residents in need of a hot meal.
In Fraserburgh, the local Sea Cadets stepped up to offer hot drinks, snacks and soup at their centre in the town.
The SSPCA asked members of the public to drop off large blankets and duvets to keep animals warm. It also requested disposable heat packs for reptiles after the charity’s Aberdeenshire centre was left without power.
ScotRail said extensive damage to trains and railway lines had caused the suspension of services between Edinburgh and North Berwick and Dunbar, Dundee and Aberdeen, Aberdeen to Inverness, Wick to Inverness and Dumfries to Kilmarnock.
LNER said there would be no services yesterday on the East Coast route north of Newcastle and that ‘significant disruption’ can be expected this week.
Meanwhile, 42 passengers were stuck for 17 hours overnight on Friday when the 3.25pm Aberdeen to Inverness train was brought to a halt at Huntly, Aberdeenshire.
Train staff ordered pies and hot rolls from local bakers and even managed to source a kettle for teas and coffees.
The Association of British Insurers said firms were gearing up to offer help to policyholders who had suffered losses as a result of the storm. People were advised to arrange emergency repairs to prevent problems escalating and to keep receipts.
A spokesman added: ‘Comprehensive motor insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing vehicles damaged by storms.’