Storms make a splash across the North

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The Independent Online

The waves came crashing in on Blackpool yesterday as high winds gusted across northern Britain.

The first of two ferocious storms that formed in the Atlantic reached UK shores on Thursday night, with the Northern Isles experiencing hurricane-force winds of up to 100mph. Further south, Glasgow was hit by 70mph gusts.

One man was killed when a tree was uprooted, hitting his car in Staffordshire, and many more trees were blown down across the North. Sixty workers on a floating oil installation in the North Sea 175 miles north-east of Aberdeen had to be airlifted to safety when four of its 10 anchor chains broke free, while on land about 9,000 properties were left without power.

Fifty people were evacuated from a block of flats in Dumfries after the roof blew off, and coastguards and a lifeboat crew were called out after the hurricane-force winds tore a fishing boat free from its moorings.

In the Cairngorm mountains, there were unofficial reports of wind speeds topping 140mph; a nearby Meteorological Office wind calculator that shuts down when speeds reach 115mph was out of action for four hours.

As much as 60mm of rain was forecast for Scotland last night, with fears of flooding. And 30mm of snow was predicted for Argyll and the Highlands.