WORKMEN came to the rescue after an ambulance became trapped by fallen trees in last weeks storms. The drama unfolded on Rivacre Road last Thursday when the medics arrived to help a motorist after a tree had landed on a car. But just as they were about to take the driver to hospital another tree was blown down, trapping the ambulance on the road.
Workmen and countryside rangers from Rivacre Country Park sprung to the rescue, working to clear the trees and allowing the ambulance to take the driver to the Countess of Chester Hospital. Cheshire County Council mobilised a 300-strong emergency team to deal with serious problems caused by the 79 mph gales that lashed the county.
Operation Astraeus – named after the Greek god of the four winds – involved staff from council’s services working across the county. Emergency, highways teams, countryside rangers, transport co-ordination, education and communications officers were all involved in coping with the winds that badly hit highways and schools.
Trees were blown down across Ellesmere Port and Neston. The front window of Tescos store in Neston was blown out, scores of schools suffered structural damage and others were closed for safety reasons or because of the loss of power. Lees Lane, in Neston, was closed due to the high winds. The clear-up operation to remove trees from roads will cost the county council about 150,000.
An estimated 700 trees and power cables were brought down, and at one point on Thursday afternoon highways staff received 90 calls in just one hour. In total they have dealt with 2,000 calls from the public. County engineer Steve Kent said: “We believe that the last high winds which were as strong and as widespread across the county were more than 20 years ago. “Apart from trees being uprooted we also had reports of roof tiles and slates being blown across the highways.”