Man dies after tree falls on car as Storm Arwen brings snow and high winds to UK

26 November 2021, 18:18 | Updated: 27 November 2021, 00:02

By Sophie Barnett

A man tragically died after his car was hit by a falling tree in Northern Ireland, as Storm Arwen swept across the UK bringing high winds, rain and snow.

Motorists were warned not to travel "under any circumstances" along parts of east Scotland and north-east England while some train services were scrapped altogether as high winds, heavy rain and snowfall arrived from Friday afternoon.

In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was struck by a falling tree in Antrim.

The tragic incident occurred on the Dublin Road, which was closed as a result and diversions were put in place.

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Trevor Clarke, DUP MLA for South Antrim, tweeted: "My thoughts are with his loved ones at this very sad time."

He urged people to avoid the area and to be aware of traffic delays.

Elsewhere, motorists in areas which fell under the Met Office's red weather warning were told they "should not travel under any circumstances" by a senior police officer.

The Met Office issued the rare red warning for wind from 3pm on Friday to 2am on Saturday as Storm Arwen arrived to batter the country, with gusts forecast to be as high as 90mph and waves as high as 10 metres.

As of 10pm, the Met Office said the highest gust recorded during Arwen was 78mph in Inverbervie, south of Aberdeen.

Footage showed howling winds whipping up the North Sea in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and snowfall elsewhere, including in Redcar, Yorkshire, and Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have tweeted advising people to remain indoors as wind speeds pick up.

They attended a number of incidents on Friday evening.

There's also major disruption to Merseyrail lines due to a fallen tree.

There have also been travel disruptions in Scotland with trains unable to pass a large tree blocking the Highland Mainline in both directions.

Whilst on the A1 there have been road closures and the A77 Northbound has been partially blocked by tree.

Thousands of Scottish homes are also without power in Aberdeenshire and Moray, Angus areas and also parts of East Lothian.

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Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said the Met Office didn't "issue red warnings lightly" and warned people to stay away from the affected area.

"People need to recognise, really, that we don't issue red warnings lightly so, therefore, when we do, we feel that there is a much higher threat of risk," he said.

"We urge people, obviously, to take action as a result of that and that action in this case is probably don't go to the coast."

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The warning, which is the highest the Met Office issues, means the impact is likely to be severe with the potential for damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down.

The alert also warns people in the zone of the potential of "roads, bridges, and railway lines closed, with delays and cancellations to bus, train, ferry services and flights", and Rod Dennis, of RAC Breakdown, warned of the chance of major disruption and urged motorists to "avoid driving if at all possible".

"Red warnings from the Met Office are relatively rare and are the strongest possible signal to drivers not to set out in the first place unless absolutely necessary," he said.

Most of the UK is blanketed by weather warnings as the storm approaches, with those set to be in force on Saturday.

Temperatures are set to fall with the storm, too, and the Met Office has warned the north east of England, north west of England, Yorkshire, West Midlands and the East Midlands will experience cold weather from Friday to Monday.