Blown away!

Date published: 13 February 2014

A COURAGEOUS mountain-rescue team battled ferocious winds to save lorry drivers and motorists stranded on an isolated moorland road last night.

Seventeen members of the group were called in after two lorries blocked the A635 Holmfirth-Oldham road.

One of the vehicles was heading towards Oldham towing a trailer when gusts of up to 100 miles-an-hour slewed it across the highway.

The driver of another lorry in its wake careered off the road into a ditch.

And despite an Oldham council gritting truck attempting to block the road to warn of the danger, drivers added to the chaos by attempting to cross the moor regardless.

Dr Andrew Taylor of Oldham Mountain Rescue said: “Other drivers completely ignored ‘road closed’ signs then got stuck on the moor, adding to the problems.

“The winds, backed by driving rain, were the most intense I’ve ever seen. Conditions were very tough but luckily no one was hurt.”

Mountain rescuers took the lorry drivers to the safety of the Clarence Hotel at Greenfield for hot drinks and escorted other drivers, compelled to abandon their vehicles, safely off the moor.

Police manned a road block and the road remained closed in both directions between the B6106 Dunford Road junction at Holmfirth and the A669 Chew Valley Road junction, Greenfield.

Police and ambulances raced to the assistance of another lorry driver, trapped in his cab with head injuries, after his vehicle overturned on Saddleworth’s other main trans-Pennine route, the A62 at Stanedge. The road was closed for several hours and diversions were in operation.

Meanwhile, teams from Oldham Council’s highways department were praised for their mammoth efforts clearing more than 30 trees uprooted by the fierce winds across the borough.

Said highways boss, Craig Dale: “Trees were blown down or uprooted by the winds everywhere across the borough. In some cases they blocked roads but our team did a terrific job removing them. I’m proud of them.”

Farm buildings lost roofs and cars on Huddersfield Road were damaged by flying debris from the roof of the former Star Inn at Scouthead.

In Dobcross, a landmark historic lamp in the village square was blown from its mountings on a memorial by the gales.

STORMS battered Oldham overnight causing dangerous driving conditions, trees to be uprooted and traffic chaos with gusts of over 70mph reported.
Two terrace houses in Savoy Street, Glodwick, were evacuated when brickwork fell and damaged a car.

Elsewhere, fallen trees blocked several roads and caused rush-hour traffic chaos for motorists. Hollinwood Avenue in Chadderton was blocked at around 4pm after a huge tree fell across the road, stopping traffic in both directions. A section of Broadway near Fold Green was closed for a short time after tree branches blocked one lane.

A fallen tree blocked Chapel Road between Greenfield and Uppermill while another blocked Fraser Street in Shaw. No one was hurt in any incident