December 4 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 14, 2013
A church-goer escaped serious injury by inches after a falling tree branch crushed the bonnet of his car as he left an early-morning service.
The man was driving away from the meeting house of the Plymouth Brethren Christian church in Thorpe St Andrew when the 2ft-diameter bough crashed down on top of his silver Volvo, seriously damaging two others in the car park.
Thunder Lane was closed for more than six hours as tree surgeons worked to make the tree safe and removed two further limbs, following the near-miss at 6.30am on Sunday.
Church member Antony Hynd said the fallen branch, from an oak tree on the church’s property, had “written off at least two cars” and caused damage to another.
“It was so fortunate that it wasn’t much worse, and that nobody was hurt,” he said.
“It was the end of the service and they were leaving at about 6.30am, when the branch fell. One of the members was in the car at the time, and was driving out.
“Fortunately he wasn’t injured but he was very shaken up and was taken by the ambulance crews, who helped him.”
Police were at the scene for most of Sunday morning, guarding the scene, and were assisted by a fire crew from Sprowston, which carried out initial scene safety measures.
The Volvo was left stricken beneath the 20ft branch, with the two other vehicles almost buried beneath smaller branches and foliage and the car park covered in debris from the oak tree.
“There are usually about 40 or so at the morning service, and these people would have been among the last to leave,” said Mr Hynd.
He added that tree surgeons’ investigations had revealed rot as the cause of the branch falling.
Mr Hynd said: “The trees themselves are quite rotten in parts and some thorough investigations are going to have to be made to make sure that other trees in the road are safe too.
“Although the tree was flourishing, a lot of the branches were quite rotten. It was basically rotting from the inside out.”
The incident came just days after Selene Sawyer, a headteacher at Lionwood Infant and Nursery School, off Telegraph Lane East, Norwich, had a similar escape after a metre-wide tree crushed the bonnet of her car as she was heading towards South Burlingham on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the control room at Norfolk Police said there were 31 highway obstructions - things like fallen trees, cables, and broken down cars - yesterday and 26 on Saturday which was fairly normal and a lot less than the 121 that were reported in the 24 hours between Thurdsay and Friday last week which was “highly unusual”.
• It was was wet, wet wet across Norfolk with a month’s rain falling in just a few days across the county resulting in some roads being badly flooded.
Last week’s fierce autumn winds have been replaced this weekend by heavy and persistent rain which has helped add extra weight to some trees and branches already weakened by the recent blustery conditons resulting in some crashing to the ground.
The road to the beach car park at Cley was badly flooded, though passable with care, and there was a flood warning sign by the railway bridge on Norwich Road, North Walsham, on Sunday.
The East Coast Classic Surf Competition went ahead in Cromer on Sunday after it was postponed on Saturday due to the weather.
Another event which went ahead was the fifth running of the Marriotts Way 10k between Aylsham and Reepham despite heavy rain overnight meaning some of the roads on the way out to Reepham were partially flooded.
Chris Bell, a weather forecaster for UEA-based Weatherquest, said there had been a “reasonable amount of rain yesterday” with up to half an inch falling in parts of the county.
Mr Bell said the wet weather was set to continue this week with up to an inch of rain expected to fall in the next few days although the forecaster did not think we were going to see huge amounts of rain “in any one go”.
He also predicted that from Wednesday onwards we would see some fairly mild temperatures, certainly warmer than it has been in the past few days.
Despite the rain there were only flood alerts in place for the River Bure and Spixworth Beck and the River Glaven from Thornage to Cley next the Sea.