Around half a million people were left without electricity after Storm Arwen battered much of Britain.
Winds of up to 98 mph caused huge disruption across parts of the power network. Indeed, it is said to be the worst storm damage seen to the grid in the northeast of England for 20 years.
The storm, for which the Met Office issued its rare – and most severe – red weather warning, struck during Friday afternoon (26 November) and continued into Saturday.
While the northeast of England and east coast of Scotland bore the brunt of Storm Arwen, strong gusts also passed across much of Britain.
The strongest wind was 98 mph at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland, while 11 metre-high waves were recorded in the outer Firth of Forth.
“Storm Arwen has delivered some dangerously strong winds overnight, with gusts in excess of 90mph recorded and sustained windspeeds of over 60mph.”
– Steve Ramsdale, Chief Meteorologist for the Met Office
Left In The Dark
At its worst impact, around 500,000 electricity customers were left without power after the winds damaged overhead distribution lines.
Nearly half of those affected were across the northeast of England, Yorkshire, and Lincolnshire. More than 1,100 incidents were reported, with Northern Powergrid having managed to restore power to around 200,000 by Sunday.
“The storm was well forecasted and despite being prepared, Storm Arwen resulted in damage of a scale and intensity not seen for 15 years. Despite yesterday’s condition hampering our ability to travel and work at height, we did manage to restore power to 180,000 customers by various means available to us in day one of this event.
“We’re sorry that some customers are still without power despite the huge effort by our colleagues. We understand the impact this has on peoples’ lives particularly at this time of year.”
– Rod Gardner, Major Incident Manager for Northern Powergrid
Around 40,000 customers across Scotland faced a third night without power on Sunday. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), which covers the north of the country, said 32,000 people were still disconnected.
While SP Energy Networks said, which covers central and southern Scotland, was still waiting to restore supplies in Dumfries, Fife, the Lothian and the Borders.
Electricity North West said it had restored power to 77,000 homes since Friday. But 11,000 other properties still remained without electricity.
Storm Arwen’s Deadly Impact
Sadly, the severe winds killed three people. A headteacher in Northern Ireland died after a tree fell on his car. Another man was hit and killed by a falling tree in Cumbria. While a third person died in Aberdeenshire.
The extreme weather caused huge disruption to the nation’s transportation network. London North Eastern Railway (LNER) cancelled all services north of Tyneside, with passengers urged to avoid travel. Similarly, the Tyne and Wear Metro and was hit by closures.
In Scotland, all schools in Aberdeen will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday. Diesel generators were sent to community hospitals and care homes in the region.
Storm Arwen also saw TV programme ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ taken off air. The high winds damaged the show’s set at Gwrych Castle in North Wales, forcing the cancellation of both the weekend’s episodes and a cast evacuation.
Other Major UK Storms
Learn more about some of the other major extreme weather events and storms to cause disruption to the electricity network.