70mph gales on the way

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HARTLEPOOL was bracing itself for “dangerous, storm force winds” today.

The town was set to be battered by 70mph gales, enough for weather experts to put residents on amber alert.

Winds, which were already strong as morning broke in Hartlepool, were expected to increase as the day went on.

Met Office North East issued the amber warning yesterday due to the threat of strong winds, and the alert will remain in place until tomorrow morning.

People are urged to take extra care when travelling or out and about and to be prepared for strong gusts of wind.

Those gales are likely to make forecast temperatures of 10C feel a lot colder.

Temperatures will drop to 4C overnight.

High winds will remain tomorrow, although they are not expected to be as strong as today.

However, residents are warned of sub-freezing temperatures on the way over the weekend.

Friday night will dip to -1C, with the following night predicted to be even colder.

Despite the grim forecasts, the winter weather so far is mild when compared to last year.

Hartlepool was in the middle of a big freeze in December 2010, with continued sub-freezing temperatures and snowfall.