DISRUPTION and damage came to the borough last night as Bury was battered by high winds and stormy conditions.
The Met Office issued a “red” risk to life weather warning yesterday before gusts of more than 70mph blew over trees and fences and caused minor damage to buildings.
Commuters faced disruption on the M60, M62 and M6 with parts of the roads shut until midnight and at 7.30pm last night, Metrolink chiefs warned commuters not to travel by tram unless “absolutely necessary”.
Bury Control Room received 21 weather-related calls – seven concerning trees which had fallen in Radcliffe, Prestwich and Tottington – and many others concerning debris in the road, twisted street lighting and damaged fencing.
Panels blew from outdoor stalls in Bury Market, and an awning to the side of Ribble Drive Primary School in Whitefield was damaged.
The council’s Building Control team was also busy, with Thorndyke Walk in Prestwich closed due to falling fencing near Park View Primary School.
Slates fell from the roof of the Art Picture House pub in Haymarket Street in Bury town centre, and other houses across Bury, Radcliffe and Whitefield were reported to have dangerous roofing.
Crews from Whitefield secured the metal shutter after it was torn from the front of a business in Bury Old Road.
Fortunately no pedestrians were passing at the time, with most people staying indoors in view of the high winds.
Community spirit triumphed in Radcliffe after a large tree crashed down at around 7pm, blocking both sides of Ringley Road and causing traffic delays.
Within the hour, a farm manager from the nearby Shoretop Farm had arranged for it to be removed via one of the farm’s own tractors.
Fallen trees also temporarily blocked roads in Prestwich and in Ainsworth Road in Bury – with many residents across the borough also complaining of minor damage to fencing, roofs and gutters.
A spokeswoman for Six Town Housing said they had received reports of wheelie bins and debris which had been strewn around by the wind.
The spokeswoman added: “We have had a few phone calls concerning damage to fencing following yesterday’s storm.
“It is tenants’ own responsibility to look after and maintain their fences, save for one or two exceptions.”
Power was also temporarily affected in some areas of Radcliffe last night, with many homes reporting powercuts and flickering lights.
Fire chiefs in Greater Manchester said their control room had been inundated with calls, with Greater Manchester Police receiving 1,766 calls between 3pm and 10pm.
Most related to routine call-outs but there was a surge in complaints related to the weather, particularly an increase in road accidents.
Their busiest time was between 4pm and 7pm, when more than 800 calls were made to the control room.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “I would firstly like to pay tribute to the officers and staff from all the emergency services who worked tirelessly throughout the evening to keep the people of Greater Manchester safe.
“To date, we have not received any reports of anyone suffering serious injuries as a direct result of the bad weather.
“I would also like to commend the patience shown by commuters caught up in long delays on our roads and public transport.
“ Undoubtedly it was a very frustrating day for them but I hope they can understand that ensuring their safety is our number one priority and that is why we had to close certain roads.”
Bury may not be totally out of the woods yet, with more stormy weather forecast for this evening and Saturday.
Across the country, the storms left one man dead and hundreds stranded as winds of up to 108mph stopped trains in their tracks, blew roofs off stations and closed major transport links.