January 30, 2013

The wind turbine that couldn’t cope with a gale: £250,000 tower crashes to the ground after its blades spin out of control

By Hugo Gye and Mark Duell | Daily Mail | 30 January 2013 | www.dailymail.co.uk

A £250,000 wind turbine was blown down by gale-force winds this weekend, leaving it a ‘mangled, blackened wreck with melted blades’.

The controversial 115-foot tower at East Ash Farm in Devon, near Holsworthy, toppled over after gale force gusts of 50mph made its blades spin out of control.

The massive structure – which is as tall as a ten-storey building – then caught fire and collapsed in the stormy weather on Sunday evening.

It was only built in 2010 – but the farm’s owners have recently been granted permission to erect a second turbine.

The news comes as forecasters warn that the worst of the extreme weather is not over, with gale-force winds and heavy showers expected today and tomorrow and flood warnings out for Friday.

Meanwhile, a shocked driver had a nasty surprise on their morning commute today when a waterlogged road gave way beneath their car.

The terrified motorist’s Volkswagen Polo crashed through the tarmac in a rainy Manchester after the ground crumbled after overnight flooding.

Britain woke up to more showers and gales today after a stormy night that saw hurricane-force winds of up to 80mph.

Although the weather has brightened up and temperatures remain mild at around 10-11C, the worst is not over, with gale-force winds and heavy showers expected today and tomorrow and flood warnings out for Friday.

A Met office spokesman said: ‘A band of squally rain will push across the country – with about 5-10mm falling – and some thunder, hail and turbulent weather, especially in hilly areas.

‘There will be snow showers in Scotland going into Friday, with 20-30mm of rainfall.’

Saturday will be bright but with cold weather and more snow showers to the north, which will move down the east coast as far as East Anglia, while Sunday will be less cold, but rainy.

The news comes as beleaguered Britons continue to suffer from the effects of last week’s Big Freeze, with torrential rain plus the Big Thaw causing flooding in low-lying areas.

But areas lucky enough to escape the extreme conditions will enjoy a respite, as temperatures reach as high as 14C (57F).

Early rain will clear from eastern England today to leave most of the UK with spells of sunshine and downpours, which will be heaviest and most frequent in the West with the chance of hail and thunder.

Showers will ease through this evening to leave many areas fine. A band of rain will then spread in from the west, although it should stay drier in south-east England and north-east Scotland.

Rain will clear in the north-east overnight to leave sunny spells and blustery showers for most of the UK tomorrow, although it will be cloudier in Scotland with more prolonged spells of rain.

Two men died after falling into the stormy sea off Torquay, Devon, over the last two days.

A member of Torbay lifeboat crew jumped into the chilly water at the harbour last night and pulled a man ashore, but he died despite resuscitation attempts

RNLI spokesman Colin Bower said weather conditions were extremely poor, with heavy seas whipped up by gale-force winds of around 70mph.

The man has not been named but Devon and Cornwall Police said his next of kin had been informed.

Just 24 hours earlier, the body of a fisherman was found by rescuers searching for a boat that had gone missing off Torquay.

Rescue helicopter, RNLI lifeboats, coastguard rescue teams and two Royal Navy vessels were involved in the search in gale-force winds.

Jeremy Linn from Brixham Coastguard said: ‘He had been fishing for the afternoon and was coming home with a catch on board, which means he obviously had quite a lot of weight in the boat.

‘It was not good weather – it was very windy, we’d had lots of rain and the sea state was rough – so it’s a strong possibility that the boat was swamped in some way and sank.’

Torbay lifeboat Coxswain Mark Criddle said: ‘It’s very sad that two young men have lost their lives in this way.’

A homeowner had a lucky escape when a powerful gust of wind blew a skylight window out of her roof and sent it crashing down on her car.

The heavy 3ft x 2ft frame and glass flew over the house and landed on owner Katie Gregory’s car three floors below.

It caused around £1,000 of damage to the wing and windscreen of her Citroen Picasso, but luckily no-one was injured.

Ms Gregory, 33, had opened the roof window slightly on Sunday to let some air into the attic bedroom of her terraced house in Dudley, West Mids.

The mother-of-two said: ‘I was in the back of the house when I heard screaming round the front.

‘I could see glass absolutely everywhere and looked out and saw my car was damaged.

‘I thought something had fallen off a lorry going past and then saw the window and realised it was my skylight.

‘My children were due home at exactly the time it happened, but luckily they hadn’t got back and there was no-one else on the pavement at the time.

‘If anyone had been underneath it would have killed them. I live directly opposite a primary school and thank God it happened at the weekend when the children weren’t around.’

The Duchess of Cornwall had minor problems with the high winds yesterday, when she was pictured struggling with her umbrella during a visit to an army barracks.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for wind and rain in the south-west England and much of Scotland.

Devon and South Wales can expect ‘localised flooding and disruption to travel’, according to forecasters.

But Scotland looks set to be the hardest hit area of the UK this week.

The highest recorded winds in the country were 84mph last night, with gales particularly strong on the Shetland Islands, the Met Office said this morning.

Overnight, much of the region saw gale-force winds, which the Met Office says could lead to bridges being closed and other travel problems.

And the situation is unlikely to clear up today, as the gales are set to continue in Scotland as the rest of the country is hit by hail and thunderstorms.

However, unlike the freezing cold of last week, temperatures are set to be mild, with Heathrow forecast to reach 14C (57F) and more northern areas going as high as 12C (54F).

The Duchess of Cornwall had to fight her umbrella yesterday after the winds picked up while she was visiting the 4th Battalion of The Rifles in Bulford, Wiltshire.

She was distracted from her conversation when the umbrella started blowing around, but seemed to take the mishap with good grace.

Camilla could be seen smiling and laughing at her own struggles with the adverse weather.

Since the end of the cold weather, much of the country has been on flood alert – with many areas experiencing flooding.

Earlier this week, the devastated father of a kayaker who died after he got into difficulties in a swollen river paid tribute to his son.

Firefighters and mountain rescue volunteers freed Matthew Baird-Parker, 36, after his kayak became trapped in debris in Arkle Beck, near Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

His father Stephen Baird-Parker told the BBC: ‘Matthew was a very active and committed person and anything he did, he did to his full extent.

‘If there was a way you could wish to die, then he would have wanted to die doing this. He was exceptionally good at it and it is all he wanted to do.’

Freak weather conditions left a newly-finished house looking like a bomb site after it was struck by a bolt of lightning – which blew the radiators off the walls.

The explosive blast destroyed the chimney stack, brought down the loft ceiling and left a huge hole in the roof of the property in Bristol.

Power sockets and light switches were also blown out of their fixings and cars parked outside were showered with bricks and roof tiles.

The driver of a £300,000 James Bond-style Aston Martin DB5 was left red-faced yesterday after getting stuck in flooded water in Oxfordshire.

It is believed he ignored signs which warned that the road underneath the bridge between Woolstone and Longcot was flooded with up to two feet in water.

After two weeks, rising temperatures turned the big freeze into the big thaw with devastating results.

Buildings flooded and drivers crashed or were trapped as up to 4ft of water poured out, with the meltwater swelled by rain.

Rivers across the country broke their banks but there will be little let-up as forecasters warned of showers and high winds until at least the weekend.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/01/30/the-wind-turbine-that-couldnt-cope-with-a-gale-250000-tower-crashes-to-the-ground-after-its-blades-spin-out-of-control/