Resort battered as Storm Ali blows in
TREES were blown onto roads and railways and the Southport Pier train toppled as storms battered Southport last week.
Winds of around 50mph battered the town, with higher speeds recorded across other areas of the North West.
Guildford Road in Birkdale was blocked when a tree fell on the road near Stamford Road and had to be cut up to be removed.
Trains were forced to stop running at Southport and Birkdale stations on Friday afternoon after a tree fell and blocked the line on Friday afternoon.
A large tree also fell in Botanic Gardens in Churchtown on Wednesday, landing on grass near the children’s play area, while another fell and blocked Fylde Road in Marshside.
Significant damage was caused to a floodlight and fencing around the tennis courts at Southport and Birkdale Cricket Club when the large sight screens from the cricket pitch were bowled over, despite having been secured with concrete blocks.
The damage occurred even though Southport and most of Merseyside had not been included in the original Yellow Weather Warning issued by the Met Office ahead of the storm.
An unexpected victim of this was the pier’s train, which was blown onto its side during the bad weather.
No-one was hurt when the train fell, with the driver, Colin Poole, the only person present at the time of the incident.
Natalie Jamieson-Morrison, whose family runs the Southport Pier Pavillion cafe, said: “We were closing the pier as it happened because of the wind.
“He was putting the train back away and the wind just blew two carriages over but there was no damage.”
According to Sefton Council, its Tree and Woodland Team received more than 37 separate calls regarding tree damage on the Wednesday alone.
A Met Office spokesperson said: “The process of issuing weather warnings is based on a number of things including time of day, wind speeds and is also taken in consultation with local advisers in that region.
“In terms of where the warnings were made, they were pretty close to Liverpool and strong winds were highlighted in the forecast.
“The warning system is always looked at to see what lessons can be learnt.
“Hopefully, with the storm being named, people were still more aware of the winds.”
Southport Pier’s train was blown over by Storm Ali’s high winds
A tree blown over near the play area at Botanic Gardens
A tree down in Guildford Road