Update: Strong winds start to cause disruption in East Anglia with fallen tree on rail line and blown over lorry on A47
PUBLISHED: 15:06 14 February 2014 | UPDATED: 22:09 14 February 2014
Strong winds have started to cause disruption across East Anglia with forecasts of up to 60mph gusts predicted for tonight.
A fallen tree has blocked the railway line between Norwich and Lowestoft at about 9pm today between the station at Reedham and the swing bridge. Network Rail are on scene and the tree should be removed by 10.30pm.
A spokesman for Greater Anglia added that there were likely to be delays to services tomorrow with a 40-50mph speed limit being introduced on parts of the network.
Cambridgeshire Police were tonight called to the A47 at Eye, near Peterborough, to a lorry that had been blown over and was blocking the road.
Friday night is expected to bring gale force winds, which could last into tonight and Saturday morning.
Steve Weston, duty forecaster at Weatherquest, said: “The difference between now and Wednesday is the strong wind will last for a lot longer. We can expect gale force winds from this moment on. They are likely to reach gale force (25mph) inland through the afternoon with gusts of up to 45 or even 55mph. The wind will, however, be stronger on the coast.
“The high winds will last through today and this evening but are likely to strengthen from between midnight and 3am to around a 30mph mean but gusts ofr around 50mph but up to 70mph in some parts.
“The winds on Wednesday reached as high as 50mph in some parts of the region.”
The weather warnings have resulted in the National Trust cancelling tomorrow’s park run in the grounds of Blickling Hall tomorrow.
The owner of the Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth also closed the attraction tonight because of the strong winds.
Keegan Snell said the venue was due to be open as normal tomorrow. He said: “We had to close the Britannia Pier on safety grounds. The wind is terrible and it is just waiting for an accident to happen.”
King’s Lynn Mart got under way as planned tonight.
Chief steward Donald Gray said: “Everything’s up and running fine apart from the rain. The rain doesn’t hurt anything apart from the business. The winds aren’t a problem at the moment.”
Meanwhile, the Met Office have issued the following predictions for Norfolk and Suffolk: “A further period of very strong winds is expected across southern and southeastern counties of England from Friday afternoon, overnight into Saturday morning.
“Gusts of 60 to 70 mph are likely in the Amber warning area with isolated 80 mph gusts possible along the most exposed parts of the south coast. Winds will ease from the west during Saturday morning.
“The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel as well as trees being uprooted and perhaps damage to buildings.
“The very strong winds will be accompanied by large waves along the south coast and the public should also be aware of these potentially dangerous conditions and also the possibility of coastal flooding.
“This warning accompanies a larger yellow warning. The amber area has been extended to cover other parts of the south east and East Anglia. This includes the London area, where gusts of 60 mph or more are likely overnight.
“Another storm runs northeastwards across western and northern parts of the UK during Friday and into Saturday, before clearing to the northeast. Around the southern flank of this storm very strong southerly or southwesterly winds are expected to develop, primarily affecting southern and southeastern counties of England.
“There remains some uncertainty in the track and timings of this system but gusts of 60-70 mph are possible with perhaps 80 mph along the most exposed parts of the south coast.
“With these strong winds some large waves are also likely along the south coast and there is the potential for some coastal flooding where this coincides with high tides.”
The Highways Agency is advising road users that the Orwell Bridge will be closed later tonight for safety reasons due to high winds. Detailed planning for this contingency is being conducted this afternoon.
Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said: “Everyone should be aware of the potential for damaging and disruptive gusts of wind across the county later today and overnight.”
“In particular, motorists should take extra care when venturing out, as there is the possibility of debris on the road, as well as standing water caused by heavy rain.”
Saturday is expected to be cloudy and blustery, with regular squally showers.
Saturday night will see the weather calm a little, with Sunday a dry and bright day, bringing spells of sunshine with only occasional showers.
And owing to the high winds being forecast across the Greater Anglia network area rail passengers are being advised to complete train journeys as early as possible.
A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: “All ticket restrictions will be removed for valid Abellio Greater Anglia ticket holders from 5pm until close of service.”
The Met Office offer the following advice for how to deal with very strong winds.
Before the storm
Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them.
Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages.
Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences.
Close and secure loft trapdoors with bolts, particularly if roof pitch is less than 30°.
If the house is fitted with storm shutters over the windows then ensure that these are closed and fastened.
If chimney stacks are tall and in poor condition, move beds away from areas directly below them.
During the storm
Stay indoors as much as possible.
If you do go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees.
Keep away from the sheltered side of boundary walls and fences - if these structures fail, they will collapse on this side.
Do not go outside to repair damage while the storm is in progress.
If possible, enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side, closing them behind you.
Open internal doors only as needed, and close them behind you.
Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads, delay your journey or find alternative routes if possible.
Slow down and be aware of side winds, particular care should be taken if you are towing or are a high sided vehicle.
Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary.
After the storm
Be careful not to touch any electrical/telephone cables that have been blown down or are still hanging.
Do not walk too close to walls, buildings and trees as they could have been weakened.
Make sure that any vulnerable neighbours or relatives are safe and help them make arrangements for any repairs.