TREES were brought down and the gable end of a block of flats collapsed in a North Yorkshire town as 70mph winds battered the region.

Firefighters in North Yorkshire dealt with 20 weather-related incidents on Wednesday evening and overnight and said it had been a "challenging shift".

North Yorkshire Police received 176 non-emergency calls and 60 calls to 999 in just one hour, between 6.30pm and 7.30pm.

A spokeswoman said most of the calls involved trees and debris in the road, but also included fallen telegraph poles, a large bin being blown into a car, power cables, glass and steel panels in the road.

About a dozen trees were blown over at the RSPCA site in Landing Lane, York, damaging part of an aviary. Staff moved more than a dozen cats from one of the catteries at the facility to Askham Bryan College, after fears nearby trees would fall and damage the building.

Part of a gable wall on a block of flats in Roman Close, Tadcaster, fell off.

In York, police closed Acomb Road at about 8pm, between Carr Lane and Hobgate, after a section of the Bathstore rooftop became unstable, with motorists, pedestrians and public transport diverted along Poppleton Road.

At the University of York’s sports village, all outside pitches were closed as a safety precaution after the dome over the tennis courts was damaged in the gales.

A spokesman said it was likely the damage could be “easily rectified”.

Train services through Selby had to be cancelled while emergency engineering works took place after part of the town’s station roof was damaged.

About 200 passengers on East Coast's 1830 service from King's Cross to Edinburgh were stranded at Birkby near Northallerton for five hours after strong winds damaged its roof.

An East Coast spokesman said wind caused a power line to come down meaning the train was left without power and had to be towed slowly to Newcastle by a Thunder Bird train, then transferred to another service. Passengers were given snacks and drinks and heat blankets. The train reached Edinburgh at 4.28am, delayed further by speed restrictions.

Other incidents included:

  • A tree fell tree across both lanes of the A64 at Tout Hill, near Whitwell on the Hill, at about 5.45pm, and caused traffic to build up. motorists were able to move round it slowly until it was removed at 6.15pm.
  • Two trees fell across Elvington Lane, close to the airfield, within minutes of each other, blocking the road completely.
  • The Forrester's Arms in Carlton, south of Selby, lost part of its roof, with slates falling into the road. James Smith, manager, said: "There must be about 20 to 30 slates come off but it could have been a lot worse. We've blocked the car park off because the slates were falling across the road. No more have come off now, but they were falling straight off into the street. Nobody was hurt though, in that case we have been pretty lucky."
  • A large goods vehicle was blown over near Filey. The driver, in his 50s, was not injured but had to be cut free by firefighters.
  • The roof of a gas sub-station in Osgodby was damaged.
  • A tree crashed to the ground in Lower Priory Street, just inside York's Bar Walls.
  • A car port roof blew off in Great Ayron and crashed on to the roof of a neighbouring bungalow, damaging its chimney and sending some brickwork to fall through the house roof.
  • A workman had to be rescued from the roof off a four-storey building in Whitby. The man, 45, was trying to repair the roof when he became unable to get down due to the wind.
  • A metal shed blew over in Sowerby near Thirsk.
  • At Bilton Grove, Harrogate, the winds fuelled a chimney fire.
  • A bill-board blew in to the road in west York.
  • Brickwork and roof tiles crashed off a roof on The Mount, Selby.
  • A garage roof came loose in Station Road, Filey.
  • Shop signs came loose in Blake Street and Davygate in York and had to be made safe.
  • A driver evidently had a lucky escape when a car was reportedly hit by a tree in Ulleskelf. Firefighters said the car was not there when they arrived, suggesting it was not badly damaged.
  • The A19 at Burn, near Selby, was also closed due to debris in the road.
  • Fallen trees also blocked the A1079 Hull Road between Pocklington and Barmby Moor, with motorists reporting debris and trees in the road between Hayton and Kexby.
  • In East Yorkshire, a woman reportedly had a lucky escape when a tree snapped in Driffield and part or it crashed into her room. Unconfirmed reports say the branches fell either side of her and she was uninjured.
  • Northern Powergrid reported a fault to the electricity network supplying Barlby, near Selby, with many homes without power for several hours throughout the day, but power was expected to be restored by about 10.30pm.

Officials had warned of heavy winds earlier in the day, with the Met Office issuing severe weather warnings across Yorkshire and The Humber

The Met Office also issued yellow warnings yesterday as rain was expected to turn into snow over the high ground of northern England and southern Scotland.

Forecasters said between one and three centimetres of snow was possible above 150 to 200 metres, and five to ten cm above 300m. Combined with the severe gales, blizzards were likely to affect higher level roads.

Today the wind warnings were due to be lowered to yellow, and the Environment Agency lifted flood warnings from the River Ouse in York, saying water levels had fallen below worrying levels.