North East residents have started to 'stormproof' their homes ahead of changeable winter weather and high winds that it brings with it.
Increasingly chaotic weather conditions, including 120mph gales, have left a trail of carnage across the region and wider UK in the last few years.
The worst to date, Storm Arwen, caused £250m worth of damage and left millions without power.
In 2022, Storm Eunice claimed 17 lives as ferocious gales ripped the roof off London’s 02 Arena.
The reminder about extreme weather events comes as the North East prepares for Storm Agnes to hit, with heavy rain and winds of up to 80mpoh forecast to sweep across the region and the rest of Britain from Wednesday.
Ahead of that, a leading roofing firm, Findley Roofing, which is based in Sunderland, has revealed that demand for “pre-emptive maintenance” to roofs has rocketed with customers desperate to avoid the chaos that greeted many homeowners in previous storms.
Richie Carrigan, sales and marketing manager for Findley Roofing, said: “On the morning of Storm Eunice, we had 405 enquiries about storm damage – that was 405 homeowners who had left it too late.
“In some cases, the damage was almost apocalyptic in nature.
"Our staff visited properties where the whole roof had ended up in the back garden and on one street, a dozen chimneys collapsed.
“With the climate change crisis in full swing, winter weather is probably only going to get even more extreme, so that’s why so many people are trying to get ahead of the curve and storm proof their homes before the worst weather arrives this winter.”
A yellow warning for wind has already been issued for much of the UK ahead of the arrival of Storm Agnes.
Weather experts are already forecasting a colder-than-usual winter, while the Met Office recently revealed there are over 20 names already assigned for UK storms during the cold months.
Mr Carrigan said staff at the North East-based firm are already hard at work carrying out pre-emptive measures such as inspections, clearing gutters and securing loose tiles before Britain is forced to once again brace itself for storm season.
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“Homeowners have found themselves waiting months and months for repair work after a major storm if they’ve been reactive rather than proactive,” he added.
“In the aftermath, there’s often a period of panic, and not only will people have to potentially live in a storm-damaged home for months on end, but the eventual bill will be much higher.
“It is far cheaper to take a step before the event than to pay for a major repair job after your home has been wrecked, and the demand for pre-emptive work suggests that message is now starting to get through to the public.”