Schools closed as gales cause destruction and disruption across Hartlepool and East Durham – full list of damage

Roof ripped off High Tunstall College of Science. Picture supplied by reader Sammi Morgan
Roof ripped off High Tunstall College of Science. Picture supplied by reader Sammi Morgan

A HARTLEPOOL school has been closed after treacherous weather conditions caused “structural damage” to part of the building.

High Tunstall College of Science was closed “immediately” after staff noticed gale force winds had damaged a section of C block, where there are a number of classrooms containing dozens of pupils.

Fallen tree in Blakelock Gardens. Picture supplied by Cleveland Police

Fallen tree in Blakelock Gardens. Picture supplied by Cleveland Police

The school, in Elwick Road, will also be closed tomorrow due to the damage caused.

The school tweeted: “Due to high winds we have structural damage in C block to ensure student and staff safety the college will close immediately.”

A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council said: “A section of the roof of High Tunstall School is being attended to. Nobody has been injured and all of the children are safe.”

The battering winds have also caused chaos in other parts of the town with a section of Stockton Road being closed, from Westbourne Road to the Burn Valley roundabout, due to a fallen chimney stack.

A tree crushed a van in Wingate

A tree crushed a van in Wingate

Police and council staff are at the scene and a structural engineer is expected to be called out to assess the damage.

Glendene Arts Academy, in Crawlaw Road, Easington Colliery, also had to send its 190 pupils home after a power cut that affected 11,000 properties in the SR7 and SR8 postcode areas.

Although the power was restored at 10.15am, the school was forced to remain closed after having heating problems.

Council workers, police officers and firefighters have also been called to a number of other incidents across Hartlepool and East Durham.

A chimney was blown down in Hartlepool

A chimney was blown down in Hartlepool

Incidents include:

• Salter’s Lane, in Shotton Colliery is closed near the Nisa store due to a hanging cable.

• Trimdon Junior School, in Trimdon Village, is closed until Monday after a number of solar panels partially came off the roof.

A crew from Wheatley Hill fire station attended at 11.15am on Thursday but has advised that a specialist deal with the panels due to them being live.

Youngsters from the school have been sent home and it will re-open on Monday, though Year 6 children are expected to attend tomorrow.

Staff at the neighbouring St William’s were given safety advise in relation to the incident.

• The A19 northbound, near the Passfield Way junction at Peterlee, was closed for around an hour after a lorry overturned, but was re-opened at 12.30pm.

• Bruce Place, off Essington Way, in Peterlee, is closed.

• Flag pole snapped at Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park ground,

• The Arriva 21 Middlesbrough-Peterlee bus had to be diverted after a tree fell and blocked a road in Wingate.

• Blakelock Gardens which has been blocked and shut due to a fallen tree,

• Hereford Terrace, in Billingham, where a tree has collapsed onto a van,

• Horse Close Lane, in Trimdon Colliery, which has been blocked due to a fallen tree,

• Newburn Bridge, in Hartlepool, where a lamp post was blown down and had to be removed,

• Elwick Road, where a tree has fallen down,

• Mary Street, near to Powlett Road, where some scaffolding has toppled over,

• Nine Acres in Hart Village, Hartlepool, which has lost several power cables as a result of the winds leaving many residents across the area without power,

• Other weather-related incidents in Thornhill Place and York Road.

Police have closed the A19 flyover to high-sided vehicles as it is deemed that it is too unsafe for them to cross.

They will be redirected onto the A66 over the Newport Bridge.

Officers are urging motorists to drive with caution in the difficult conditions.

The weather has forced Met Office experts to place Hartlepool on an amber alert as the stormy weather continues to batter the town with wind gusts of up to 45mph.

A spokeswoman for the Met Office said the amber alert was issued to warn residents of possible travel delays, road and rail closures, and to be prepared to change plans.

Heavy rain and dark clouds are set to hang over Hartlepool throughout the morning, with wind speeds of 24mph and gusts of 45mph.

HM Coastguard urged the skippers of small vessels to refrain from heading out to sea today and also warned those on land to steer clear of promenades and piers.

He said: “There have been gale warning given by the Met Office and vessels, especially smaller ones, should not head out in these conditions and should wait for the bad weather to pass.

“People should also keep away from the shoreline as people have been washed off promenades and piers and into the sea and been lost before.”

Visibility is described on the Met Office website as being “very good” despite the conditions.

The blanket of cloud is expected to subside by the afternoon with sunny spells expected, but with winds still reaching 20mph and gusts of 37mph.

Keep logging on for further updates.

• Have you been affected by the conditions or know someone who has? Let us know and send us your photos. Ring (01429) 239380 or email