December 10 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Storm force winds are due to hit the region this morning prompting major road and rail disruption.
Winds of up to 70mph – or even faster in some places – are due to arrive atthe same time as the morning rush-hour, causing chaos for those trying to head to work.
The threat of high winds has already prompted the suspension of the region’s rail network and the closure of the Orwell Bridge.
The storm arrived across southern Britain after rushing across the Atlantic from Newfoundland over the weekend.
Jim Bacon from Norwich-based Weatherquest said this year’s gales are following a similar path to the Great Storm of 1987 – and there are similarities to that.
“It’s coming after a period of wet weather which has left the ground saturated, and come at the same time of the year when there are leaves on the trees.
“But the depression at the heart of the storm is not as deep as that in 1987. It has the potential to cause problems but I don’t think it will be on that scale.”
Speaking on tonight, Mr Bacon said he expected the height of the storm to cross Suffolk and north Essex between about 6am and 9am – and that the winds would ease significantly after that.
Another difference between this year’s storm and 1987 are the warnings that have been published before its arrival.
Forecasters have been predicting it since the middle of last week, and over the weekend its arrival has dominated the news.
Mr Bacon said the preparations that had been put in place – especially the decision to suspend rail services until 9am – were a “sensible precaution” and should help to prevent some of the potential damage.
Emergency services, councils and utilities – especially electricity distribution company UK Power Networks – are all on standby.
The police are talking to the Highways Agency and the county council about keeping roads clear – but already there were already reports of falling branches obstructing roads.
Two people were injured when a car was hit by a falling tree at Lakenheath in west Suffolk.
Superintendent David Cutler said: “Police are preparing for the likely impact of a severe storm on the county’s transport networks. We are working with our partners to ensure that those travelling around the county stay as safe as possible and would urge drivers to take particular care around high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles.
“With strong winds predicted, there may be disruption to a number of roads and closure notices and diversions will be signposted. Officers will be working hard to minimise the impact of this during the day, and updates will be issued on social media and through local radio and websites.”