PICTURE ROUND-UP: 74mph winds cause coast chaos
Illuminations were damaged, falling trees and shop signs sparked road closures, and trams were disrupted as stormy weather kept emergency services busy.
Rossall Point recorded gusts of up to 74mph as one school was forced to stay shut and residents were warned to stay off the Promenade.
Readers also sent in their pictures of damage, with falling tiles smashing car windscreens, pensioners being helped through the wind, and gardens left in disarray.
Firefighters were called out to several dangerous structure calls, even as wind speeds dropped to around 55mph, including to Talbot Road, which was partially closed after a section of the Sainsbury’s sign blew loose.
Crew manager Tom Mellor said: “One of the letters of the Sainsbury’s sign had come loose and parts were falling down. Two firefighters removed the loose elements of the sign and brought it down safely.”
Crews were also called to a hotel on the Prom after roof tiles came loose, and to Elizabeth Street at 9.30am when a large glass pane was blown in.
In Thornton, a large branch broke free close to playing fields in Fleetwood Road North, landing just yards from properties and cars in Shrewsbury Drive and Millfield Court.
A telephone pole was also felled as Wyre Council closed all storm gates ahead of high tide at 11.30am. They will reopen on Monday, a spokesman said, after being closed due to anticipated flooding.
A tree also fell, blocking and forcing the closure of Ballam Road in Lytham.
Tram passengers were hit by speed restrictions until around 12.30pm, with one driver braking to avoid a large bin blown onto tracks, though the service avoided being halted altogether, as bosses earlier warned was a possibility.
The Prom was closed between Central Pier and Foxhall as a precaution, while Chapel Street was shut by police after large pieces of sheet metal blew free from a sign and posed a hazard.
Illuminations staff were out from 7am fixing snapped wires, which one witness said caused lights to hang down towards the ground, a Blackpool Council spokeswoman said, while the Egyptian tableau at Bispham was damaged after a large chunk fell onto the footpath below. It was dismantled and taken for repair.
Woodlands Special School in Whitegate Drive remained shut after sections of plastic fascia on its building became loose. Staff at the school were working to make the premises safe and, with weather expected to improve over the weekend, hope to open as normal on Monday, a spokesman said.
The Knott End to Fleetwood ferry service was also suspended yesterday because of the choppy conditions.