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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 15:28 GMT
Severe gales cause travel chaos
The roof of a council building blew off in Carrington
The winds blew the roof of a building off in Carrington
Severe gales gusting up to 80mph have caused travel chaos across the north west of England.

Three lorries overturned on the M6 Thelwall Viaduct near Warrington, leading to its closure between junctions 20 and 21 for several hours.

A number of Manchester train services and flights to and from the region have also been cancelled or delayed.

The high winds also blew over several lampposts and ripped off part of a roof on a council depot building.

As a result, police closed Manchester Road in Carrington for fear of further injury to motorists and pedestrians.

On Wednesday morning a lorry was blown off the southbound carriageway of the M6 near Lancaster and rolled down an embankment, but the driver was not seriously hurt.

The M6 Thelwall Viaduct reopened at about 1500 GMT, but drivers were still being urged to take care along exposed areas.

The Thelwall viaduct on the M6 in Cheshire
Three lorries overturned on the Thelwall Viaduct

Police in Lancashire said several trees had blown over, a garage had collapsed in the strong winds at a house in Preston and some scaffolding had fallen down in Blackpool.

A woman was injured when a lamppost was blown onto her car in Trafford, Greater Manchester, and the gable end of a building collapsed on Hayes Avenue in Prescot, Merseyside.

Police in Cheshire and Merseyside said there have been numerous reports of trees falling on roads, but because of the advance warning they and local councils had teams in place to clear them away almost immediately.

High-sided vehicles are also being advised to avoid the Runcorn-Widnes bridge.

Flights affected

Several flights have been forced to circle around Manchester Airport because of the strong winds.

A spokesman for Liverpool John Lennon Airport said there had been no cancellations or diversions during their first wave of flights out of the airport but some had experienced delays of up to an hour.

Many train services from London Euston to Manchester were cancelled and delays of up to an hour expected on all Virgin Trains' services, due to a blanket 50mph speed restriction north of Rugby.

The London to Glasgow rail services are due to run with heavy delays and there is disruption on the Transpennine Express between Manchester Piccadilly and Hull.

Some services will start or terminate at Huddersfield and will not serve Manchester Piccadilly, while other services will not run to or from Manchester Airport.

The Environment Agency has a severe flood warning in place for the Kingsway North area of Warrington along with 13 other flood warnings, mainly in north-west England.



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