Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clodagh Blows in and Wreaks Havoc

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clodagh Blows in and Wreaks Havoc

Article excerpt

Byline: George Smith, Craig Thompson and Will Metcalfe Reporters

SIXTY mile an hour gales lashed the North East as Britain was battered by Storm Clodagh. Trees were brought down, Metros stopped, a ferry broke free of its moorings and Christmas markets were cancelled as the high winds whipped across the region.

Traders at markets in Newcastle and Gateshead had to be evacuated as the gusts sent stalls flying.

The Team Valley Christmas market had only been opened hours when the weather forced organisers to evacuate the site. One woman was hit by a metal pole and needed first aid on site.

The Monument Continental Christmas Market in Newcastle city centre also had to close due to the conditions.

Wind started to funnel down Grainger Street at around 11.30am. At around 12pm, the roof of Tillie's Traditional Fudge stall was torn from its fixing and landed on top of a stall behind it.

Chris Hulley, 33, the manager of the market said: "We were lucky, but no one was hurt. I rushed around telling all the other stall owners to close down. This was clearly going to get worse."

Mr Hulley said: "It was a health and safety nightmare. This is one of the busiest places in the city trying to get the stalls down while there are so many shoppers around can be quite dangerous."

Thomas Holland, 25, owner of the Tillie's Traditional Fudge stall, said: "What was amazing was that people were still trying to buy food with all this carnage going on around. We didn't have a roof."

Yesterday was set to be last day of the annual Continental Christmas Market, which had been in place for two weeks.

One stall holder attending the Gateshead Team Valley Christmas Market said: "It was terrible, the stalls were blowing everywhere and in the end they had to abandon the site completely. "Some of the stall holders were upset because they had to leave a lot of their stock behind when the market was evacuated."

The injured woman, in her 30s, was given first aid on site and advised to seek hospital treatment for the head injury. Another market visitor suffered a panic attack Emergency rescue services were stretched throughout the day as trees fell over, buildings damaged and boats capsized. Tynemouth RNLI was called to a capsized sailing dinghy with two people on board. At 12:25pm yesterday, the Coastguard received a report from South Shields Sailing Club that the dinghy had got into trouble near to South Shields pier.

Adrian Don, for Tynemouth RNLI, said: "Thankfully the two sailors were quickly recovered from the water by other sailing club members but we still needed to recover the capsized dinghy which was achieved by our volunteer crew members despite the fierce winds and very choppy sea."

The Met Office had forecast wind speeds of up to 65mph for some inland areas across the North East, with average speeds between 50mph and 60mph. …

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