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Friday, 28 December, 2001, 18:28 GMT
Flying pole impales driver
Marine drive in Scarborough
Giant waves drenched cars in Scarborough
A lorry driver was killed by a metal pole which flew through his windscreen in West Yorkshire.

Paramedics called to the incident near Wakefield said it appeared that gale force winds blew a farm gate off its hinges and into the man's cab as high winds swept across northern England.

Meanwhile in Sheffield, buildings were evacuated as engineers fought to stabilise a shaky 100-feet (30 metre) high crane after cables snapped and became entangled in gusting winds.

Elsewhere about 4,000 homes were left without power in Cumbria and North Yorkshire by 60 mph gales.

The crane's arm was blown vertical as cables failed

Chris Day, a spokesman for the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service told BBC News Online, about the incident involving the lorry driver in Yorkshire.

He said: "It was very nasty. A crew attended and a man had been impaled by a pole which looked like it had come from the fencing.

"He was dead at the scene, from multiple injuries.

"The pole went through his chest and back and the force of it pushed him right into the back of his van."

The Health and Safety Executive is still investigating the incident, which happened at Branch Road in Calder Grove before 1000 GMT on Friday.

Services suspended

Hundreds of people were evacuated from Sheffield city centre when gale-force winds threatened to topple a crane.

Shops, offices and bars were sealed off as part of Sheffield city centre came to a halt and efforts were made to secure the crane in West Street.

By 0900 GMT roads had been closed and some Supertram services were suspended.

At one stage, the arm of the crane was blown into a vertical position after cables failed in the high winds.

Cables damaged

Police and firefighters worked with engineers to stabilise the structure.

Workers were allowed to return to their offices and tram services were restored after 1100 GMT.

The weather was also blamed for damage to a electric cable which severed supplies to more than 2,000 people in North Yorkshire.

In north Cumbria, 2,000 homes were also left without power and hundreds of homes on Teesside and in Lancashire were also temporarily cut-off.

Lorry blown over

Across northern England gale force winds caused roads and bridges to close on Friday morning.

The Ouse Bridge on the M62 in East Yorkshire was closed in both directions because of high winds.

In Cumbria the A66 east of Brough was closed to high-sided vehicles and caravans.

As winds reached more than 60 mph in Middlesbrough, Cleveland Police closed the Tees Flyover to high sided vehicles.

And part of the A1 in County Durham was closed for almost three hours after an articulated lorry was blown over.

Wind and freezing temperatures are forecast for the weekend.

Click here to go to BBC Cumbria

Click here for more from South Yorkshire
See also:

28 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
NI rocked by gale force winds
28 Dec 01 | Scotland
Blizzard warning as gales strike
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