Strong gales and heavy rain are on the cards for Chester tomorrow (Thursday, February 23) with the arrival of Storm Doris.

The severe weather is likely to result in disruption on the roads, falling debris and power cuts.

According to the Met Office, winds are expected to reach about 55mph with isolated gusts up to 80mph.

An amber weather alert for the north of England will be active between 6am and 6pm.

“Severe gales will bring disruption on Thursday morning with a squally band of rain moving eastwards,” a spokesperson said.

“Brighter spells in the afternoon but snow is expected for the Pennines and Cumbrian hills.”

The Met Office advises residents to watch out for falling tress or tiles, secure garden furniture and move vehicles to a safe place.

One casualty already announced is the Crocky Trail adventure attraction in Waverton which is a popular destination during half term. But the trail has tweeted it will be closed all day on Thursday due to Storm Doris and anyone with tickets will be able to use them another day.

Road safety

Highways England said there is a particular risk to high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes on exposed sections of the road network.

Drivers of these vehicles are strongly advised to avoid travelling on stretches of motorway and major A roads throughout Thursday.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “We’re expecting storm Doris to have a significant impact on the roads throughout the day tomorrow so are urging drivers to consider changing their plans if necessary and to slow down in stormy weather.

“Drivers should look out for warnings on the electronic message signs and listen for updates in radio travel bulletins.

“Our traffic officers will also be ready to respond to any incidents during Storm Doris, and we’re urging drivers to respond to the changing conditions on the road to stay safe.”

Recent statistics showed that people are 30 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on the roads in rain than in snow.

The figures also revealed that travelling too fast for the current conditions was identified as a factor in 1 in 9 road deaths in Great Britain last year.

It generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as on a dry road because tyres have less grip on the surface.

In wet weather drivers should:

  • Slow down if the rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen.
  • Keep well back from the vehicle in front as this will increase your ability to see and plan ahead.
  • Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually if the steering becomes unresponsive.

Power cuts

There is an increased risk of power outages tomorrow due to damage to overhead lines, according to SP Energy Networks.

A team of field staff is on standby to ensure people across Cheshire are re-connected to their electricity supply in the event of a power cut.

The electricity distributor is encouraging people to prepare for the unlikely event of power loss during the storm.

Stephen Stewart, director of SP Energy Networks, said: “Although power cuts are rare events for most people, in the event of a storm such as that forecast on Thursday we want to make sure our customers are prepared as much as possible.

“We have a team of engineers on hand in Cheshire to fix faults and get people’s power supply back on as soon as possible if a power cut does occur.

“The quicker we are alerted to a power cut, the quicker we can respond.”

SP Energy Networks is offering the following advice to ensure residents across Cheshire are prepared in the event of a power cut:

  • Keep the free SP Energy Networks helpline 0800 001 5400 and new national 105 helpline numbers close to hand and keep your mobile charged.
  • Keep a battery powered torch handy – you can use this to check on the fuse box and make your way around the house safely.
  • Avoid leaving your fridge or freezer open – they will remain cold for a considerable amount of time when power is off.
  • Unplug powered equipment – this includes electrical appliances such as your TV and laptop, as well as heaters, electric fires and cookers.
  • Priority Service Register – if electricity is crucial to your health (for instance, if you use medical equipment at home) ask to be included on our priority service register.

For more information on what to do in the event of a power emergency click here.