Press release

Amber alert in place for North West gales

Road users across the North West are being urged to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys this afternoon and this evening (Thursday 15 January) with a Met Office forecast of gale force winds for the region.


High winds, including south westerly gusts of up to 70 mph in places, are forecast for between 3pm this afternoon and 11pm tonight. The Highways Agency has issued an amber alert for today’s weather – with drivers of high-sided vehicles and other vulnerable vehicles such as caravans and motorcycles being urged to avoid using exposed sections of motorways and other routes across the north.

Gust speeds are set to be peak between 5pm and 8pm and evening commuters are urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting off for home.

The Highways Agency, which operates and maintains motorways and major A roads in England, is working closely with the Met Office to monitor weather conditions and maintain safe roads and reliable journeys.

The A66 running between Cumbria and County Durham is currently closed to high sided vehicles between Brough and Bowes.

Locations in the North West potentially affected by gusts later this afternoon and this evening include:

  • M53 J1-J2 - Wallasey to Birkenhead
  • M56 J12 - Runcorn and Sutton Weaver
  • M58 J1 - Kirkby
  • M6 J20-J21 - Thelwall Viaduct
  • M6 J26-J27 - M58 to Standish
  • M6 J36-J45 - Through Cumbria
  • M60 J10-J12 - Barton Bridge through to M62
  • M60 J16-J17 - Pendlebury and Kersley to Prestwich and Whitefield
  • M62 J18 - J27 - Between Manchester and Leeds
  • M61 J4-J5 - J5 Westhoughton
  • M61 J9 / M65 J1 - Interchange
  • A56 - Between M65 and A680 at Edenfield
  • M65 J3-J4 - Withnell and Blackburn Interchange
  • A66 - Between M6 J40 - A1 (Scotch Corner)
  • A69 - All of it - South-westerly gusting

Drivers are advised to plan their journeys before they set out, checking the forecast and road conditions, to leave extra time for their journeys if travel conditions are poor, and to delay their journey if the weather becomes severe.

Road users should heed messages on the overhead signs and listen for radio updates. Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Highways Agency’s website or by calling 0300 123 5000. For information on weather conditions, visit the Met Office website or listen to local radio.

More advice on driving in windy weather is available on the GOV.UK website.

More advice on winter driving generally is available on the Met Office website.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 15 January 2015