Video: Chaos as Leeds is battered by 80mph gales UPDATED

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Strong winds brought traffic and travel disruption to Leeds today.

Motorists are being urged take extra care over the next 24 hours as winds gust up to 80mph across the region.

A lady battles through the high winds and rain at Bridgewater Place, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

A lady battles through the high winds and rain at Bridgewater Place, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

In Leeds city centre, the junction around Bridgewater Place has been closed as a precaution following recommendations made at an inquest into the death of Edward Slaney in 2011 - he was killed when a lorry was blown over in high winds, crushing him.

The Met Office has issued an ‘amber warning’, which will be in place until 4pm today.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles in particular are advised to avoid exposed routes and bridges.

Also, on the east coast – covering the Whitby, Scarborough and Filey areas in North Yorkshire – people are urged to keep away from sea walls, piers and other water fronts as heavy waves are expected to crash over the sea defences.

The heavy waves are expected to hit during Thursday afternoon due to a combination of the strong wind and the high tide.

As a result of adverse weather conditions, delays are expected today at Leeds Bradford Airport. Those flying are advised to contact their airline before arriving at the airport.

Details can also be checked on the Leeds Bradford Airport website.

Officials at Leeds Grand Mosque told today how the building’s upper roof was blown off at around 7am due to strong winds, before detaching entirely later in the morning. The area was closed off for public safety.

At the city’s Trinity Leeds shopping centre, a nearby road was closed “as a precautionary measure” after wind blew loose some cladding at the side of the building.

At 2.30pm a machine was in place to keep the cladding secure and officials said the road would remain closed until winds die down and it is safe enough to fix the problem. A spokeswoman said no-one was hurt in the incident.

In Scarborough, where seven flood warnings are in place along the coastline, officials say anyone who goes near the shoreline or sea walls when high tide comes in from 4pm could be putting their life at risk.

The council says the combination of strong winds and high water are expected to lead to severe wave overtopping in some areas and that drivers should try to avoid seafront roads.

A spokesman said: “Pedestrians are strongly advised to stay away from flooded roads and footpaths and not take unnecessary risks such as ‘wave dodging’.”

Ben Hughes, the Environment Agency’s Incident Manager, said: “Coastal paths and promenades could be highly dangerous as there is an increased risk of being swept out to sea. People are warned to stay away from the shoreline.”

There are seven flood warnings currently in place along the Borough’s coastline. The various agencies are monitoring the situation closely and steps are being taken to minimise disruption and damage from flooding, should it occur.

North Yorkshire county council is closing roads blocked by debris and setting up necessary diversions. It has also closed schools and other properties that have been damaged or lost power as a result of the gales.

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