Three people were killed by falling trees as Storm Arwen lashed parts of the UK with 100mph winds, leaving almost 250,000 homes without power last night.
Gales, snow and freezing temperatures wreaked havoc across the country, causing damage to buildings, road closures and train delays as forecasters warned the mercury was set to plunge below zero Sunday.
The storm’s victims included a ‘much-loved’ primary school head teacher who was killed in Antrim, Northern Ireland, after a falling tree struck his car.
Francis Lagan, a father of four in his 40s, was head of St Mary’s Primary School in Londonderry. He is believed to have been travelling with his wife and children when strong winds uprooted a tree that hit their car.
Stormont education minister Michelle McIlveen led tributes to Mr Lagan last night, describing him as ‘dedicated and passionate’.
St Mary’s deputy head Martina Bradley wrote on the school’s website: ‘It is with great pain and sadness… that I have to inform you of the untimely death of our much-loved principal Mr Lagan. May his gentle soul rest in peace.’
Three people were killed by falling trees as Storm Arwen lashed parts of the UK with 100mph winds, leaving almost 250,000 homes without power last night. Pictured: High winds wreak havoc on the roads of Somerset
An unnamed man died in similar circumstances at Ambleside in Cumbria, while a 35-year-old man was killed when a tree hit his pick-up as he drove through Aberdeenshire
Dozens of holiday homes trashed and flipped over from strong winds in Dene Caravan Park in Hartlepool, County Durham
The Met Office warned the north-east of England, north-west of England, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the East Midlands will experience cold weather until Monday
In a social media post, St Patrick’s College in Maghera, where Mr Lagan was a pupil in the 1990s, said: ‘Education in south Derry has lost a giant in his prime.’
An unnamed man died in similar circumstances at Ambleside in Cumbria, while a 35-year-old man was killed when a tree hit his pick-up as he drove through Aberdeenshire.
In Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, high winds tore the roof off an animal shelter, leading to the death a newborn puppy. Gusts of 117mph were recorded on Cairnwell in Scotland’s Highlands, while flurries of snow hit the South and Midlands.
Waves up to 26ft were recorded off North East beaches as coastguards begged people to stay away from the sea, warning: ‘No selfie is worth killing yourself for.’
In the Peak District, lines of abandoned cars stretched along the snowbound Snake Pass, which rises to almost 1,700ft in the Pennines. Part of the M62 near Rochdale was closed, with 120 lorries stuck in the snow after one jack-knifed.
All Avanti West Coast train services north of Carlisle were cancelled yesterday, while South Western Railway warned travellers of ‘multiple trees and obstructions blocking the railway’.
Trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh were delayed after a barn was blown on to the line close to Polmont, near Falkirk.
Huge waves crash against the seawall in Hartlepool as Storm Arwen sweeps across the country following a Met Office severe weather warning for Saturday
A truck is stranded on the A635 near Greenfield in Saddleworth, Oldham, after Storm Arwen brought snow to the UK on Saturday
A car was crushed under a tree in Hanbury Road, Clifton, Bristol, after Storm Arwen battered Britain winds up to 100mph
Crimden Dene Caravan Park in Hartlepool, County Durham is Evacuated as Storm Arwen takes its toll. Dozens of holiday homes trashed and flipped over from strong winds
Passengers in Aberdeenshire were stuck on a train for 17 hours as gale-force winds buffeted the north of Scotland.
Northern Powergrid said severe gales had caused power cuts for more than 55,000 customers in the North East, while 88,000 customers in the Midlands, Cheshire, Merseyside, Wales and the South-West were still without power at midday yesterday.
More than 100,000 homes in Scotland lost power and there were outages in Northern Ireland. Many were left without power all day as engineers struggled to tackle the sheer number of emergency calls.
Twenty people, including an Oasis tribute band, were forced to sleep on the floor of Britain’s highest pub after being snowed in on Friday night. About 3ft of snow fell at the Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales, which is 1,732ft above sea level. In total, 60 people stayed at the pub.
Beds in the pub’s lounge area were set up for the 20 who had not planned an overnight stay.
The Met Office issued a rare red ‘danger to life’ warning for Friday night, which expired yesterday morning. But the forecaster said amber and yellow warnings for wind remained in place across large swathes of the country.
It also warned that the North-East, North-West, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the East Midlands faced cold weather until tomorrow. Temperatures in the North could fall to -6C (21F).
Former England football star Michael Owen shared an image on social media of uprooted trees blocking a road on his property, with the caption: ‘Looks like I won’t be going anywhere for a while.’
In Gateshead, the storm destroyed a Christmas attraction on the world’s oldest railway. Volunteers at Tanfield Railway, which dates from 1725, were said to be ‘devastated’ by the destruction of their North Pole Express attraction.
Bookmaker William Hill cut the odds for a white Christmas to 4/1 in Birmingham and 6/1 in London.