Photo gallery and video: Power restored to homes following aftermath of gales across Norfolk and Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 12:08 16 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:11 16 February 2014
© Archant Norfolk 2014
Power to homes in Norfolk and Suffolk is now “back to normal” following the damaging impact of the weekend’s gales.
Norfolk police warning to drivers
Police in Norfolk are warning motorists to take care on the county’s roads.
The police control room has received scores of calls from across the county reporting trees or other objects blocking the road or causing a danger to road users.
The winds have brought down trees, power cables and telephone poles, with the west of the county hit hardest.
Power cables are down in areas including Wisbech and Tilney All Saints, although other areas affected include Lynford, Saham Toney and Buxon.
There have also been several reports of road traffic collisions, though no one has been badly injured at this time.
Police have urged motorists to allow extra time for their journeys, reduce their speed, leave greater distances between vehicles and be aware of debris.
Inspector Ian Boggan said: “In particular, motorists should take extra care when venturing out. We would ask them to slow down and drive with caution.
“Some roads have been affected by fallen trees and there is likely to be some local disruption throughout the day while our officers and other agency staff work hard to clear any debris.”
There were power cuts at more than 4,000 homes in Norfolk and Suffolk yesterday afternoon, with areas affected including Norwich, Stalham, Horsford, Aylsham, Sheringham, Loddon, Wymondham and Diss.
But now UK Power Networks engineers have restored power to thousands of homes across the region with just a few isolated properties still affected by power cuts where access is an issue.
The Environment Agency has issued a flood warning for North Bank Road alongside the River Nene to the east of Peterborough and the west of the Dog-in-a-Doublet Sluice.
A flood alert has also been issued for the River Waveney between Diss and Ellingham and the Little Ouse and River Thet between Thetford and Brandon.
Wind speeds hit 65mph
Wind speeds hit a high of 65mph in Weybourne last night, with most of the region seeing gusts of between 50mph and 60mph. This morning average wind speeds of between 30-40mph were still being recorded and gusts of up to 60mph.
Jim Bacon, of Weatherquest, said seeing gusts of such speed inland – as the winds came from the south-west – was significant, though Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire had avoided the most damaging 80mph winds coming from the English Channel.
The winds and squally, blustery weather are the consequence of the latest low pressure system moving over the region.
“These lows happen quite regularly in the winter months but we have had an unrelenting succession of them,” he said.
“That’s been good for temperatures as the winter has been quite mild and people have been able to save on their heating bills, but it does mean that we’ve had a longer spell of these lows this winter than we would normally have.”
A residential car park in Norwich was cordoned off by police last night because of an overhanging tree.
Officers were called to Dell Crescent off Dereham Road at around 10am yesterday morning to reports of a large tree hanging.
But because the tree surgeon needed could not attend the car park it has been blocked to members of the public.
The tree surgeon is expected to move the tree at 8am today.
Fire crews from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston were called to the Vauxhall Railway Station in Great Yarmouth just before 1pm yesterday to remove a panel that had become loose. There were no reports of serious or structural damage to the historic bridge, which is part-way through a long-term refurbishment.
The A47 was closed in both directions between the A1065 (Swaffham) and the A1075 (Dereham) due to fallen trees blocking the carriageway, but has now reopened. The exact location of the closure was between Dereham and Wendling.
The A1067 at Guist was also reopened after being closed due to fallen tree.
A large tree blocked Great Heath Road in North Elmham, and the scene was cordoned off by police.
Washbridge in Dereham was blocked, access to Rectory Road and Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley was also blocked and the Ted Ellis Walk in Dereham was closed because of a fallen tree on power lines.
Police dealt with around 20 incidents with highways officers across the county at the end of play last night.
Dereham Road in Dereham at the Chesnut Road junction had a 60ft high tree hanging across the road, Norfolk police said. And on the A149 Coast Road there was also a tree across the road.
Surface water caused flooding in Palmers Lane, Freethorpe.
In Norwich, the Co-op store on Unthank Road was closed for safety reasons after tiles blew off the roof, though was expected to be open late yesterday.
And an uprooted tree (pictured) came perilously close to crashing into a bungalow in Darrell Place, Norwich, and was wedged between the home and fence next to it.
Police sealed off a road in Hunstanton – though it later reopened – after parts of a roof were blown off by the gale. Police cordoned off Church Street and put diversions in place after sections of felt from the former Witley Press building were blown off by the gale. No one was injured but pieces of felt – some a metre or more across – were strewn across the road.
At Blickling Hall, the formal gardens were been closed yesterday and visitors were strongly advised not to visit the park, although the house remained open. The morning park run event was cancelled.
UK Power Networks engineers were sent to repair power lines in Thetford Forest near Lynford. The road from the A134 to Wretham is blocked while they work. Police also cleared a tree from the A134.
Train services are now returning to normal following yesterday’s early disruption by trees and debris on the lines.
The line between Norwich and Lowestoft had been blocked by a fallen tree at Somerleyton and, in a separate incident, services from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth were suspended after a tree fell on the line at Brundall.
The services between Norwich and Ely, and Thetford and Lakenheath have also resumed after previous blockages. Passengers had been warned by Greater Anglia trains may be cancelled, delayed or revised at short notice because of fallen trees on both lines, but normal timetables services resumed from 9.30am yesterday morning.
Yesterday’s 3.30pm service London Liverpool Street and Norwich was cancelled because of the earlier disruption.
Firefighters helped clear roads of fallen trees and made safe power cables damaged by the storm, but reported “no major incidents” overnight on Friday.
A spokesman for Norfolk Fire Service said: “There were quite a few trees across roads, bringing cables down, and a few tiles off roofs. We had calls about lots of smaller incidents but nothing major. There were a lot of alarms sounding because the weather cut the power.”
Fire crews were called to deal with two fallen trees on Bluebell Road, Earlham, yesterday, at 1.32am and 2.50am, and one in Kilverstone near Thetford at 2.04am. They later attended a fallen tree in Norwich Road, Melton Constable, at 7.23am and another off Tolls Hill in Northrepps at 7.37am, which brought down power cables.
They also attended arcing cables yesterday at Low Road, Forncett St Mary at 1.07am, Rushford near Thetford at 1.37am, Great Plumstead at 2.20am.
Norfolk police issued a warning to drivers to stay safe. They tweeted via @norfolkpolice: “Reports coming into the control room of trees down across the county. Take your time, be vigilant and expect the unexpected.
“Early travellers – there’s a lot of debris on the roads and footpaths this morning – be vigilant and let’s be careful out there.”
Suffolk Police had more than 140 calls in less than 12 hours about the weather.
Click here to see what the weather has in store over the next few days.
Click here for the latest on the power cuts.
Friday night, Cambridgeshire Police were called to the A47 at Eye, near Peterborough, to a lorry that had been blown over and was blocking the road.
The bad weather has resulted in some sporting fixtures being postponed.
Great Yarmouth Town’s Thurlow Nunn First Division match at Needham Market Reserves was called off, as was Fakenham Town’s game against Team Bury.
Lowestoft Town FC’s scheduled Ryman League premier division clash at home to Enfield Town at Crown Meadow has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The owner of the Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth also closed the attraction Friday night because of the strong winds.
Swimming lessons and squad training were cancelled at St Felix School in Reydon, near Southwold, Saturday morning because of a power cut, which started Friday night.
Bus companies also warned that routes could be changed or cancelled as a result of the weather. Konectbus has warned of delays because of the winds, especially to services operated by double-decker buses.
A spokesman for First Buses said: “Our local teams are monitoring each route and they will decide if services need to be cut. We will be updating our website and Twitter if services are too dangerous to run.”
The Orwell Bridge in Ipswich was closed Friday night with wind gusts of up to 80mph predicted.
Did the wind cause problems where you are? Send pictures and details to Mark Shields at email@example.com or call 01603 772423