Update: Orwell Bridge reopens after gales cause fallen trees, leave thousands without power and transport problems

A fallen tree brought down power cables in Great Yeldham. A fallen tree brought down power cables in Great Yeldham.

Saturday, February 15, 2014
9:26 AM

Suffolk and Essex have been lashed by more strong winds overnight, causing damage, power cuts and travel problems.

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There are reports of trees being brought down across the region, and thousands left without power, following the gales which were expected to reach more than 60mph on the coast.

The Orwell Bridge has reopened having been closed since 10pm last night. It was initially due to reopen at 6am but was delayed as the strong winds continued.

There has been minor disruption on some Greater Anglia rail services, with a number of trains delayed due to obstructions on the line.

On Saturday morning over 2,000 properties in Suffolk and nearly 1,800 in Essex were without power.

Suffolk police say they received more than 190 weather-related calls overnight and this morning - mainly for trees and branches in roads, although that figure is likely to rise as further damage is discovered first thing this morning.

But no major roads in the county - apart from the Orwell Bridge - are thought to be affected.

Bull Lane in Long Melford is described as “just passable” between the A134 junction and the B1064 Hall Street junction due to flooding.

While The B1022 in Tiptree is blocked between Harborough Hall Road and Blind Lane, and Beckingham Road in Tolleshunt D’arcy are both blocked in the both directions because of a fallen tree.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service control room say they have received around 100 calls between 8pm last night and 8.25am today to incidents involving the high winds.

The calls have ranged from trees fallen in the roads, power cables that have come down, a crane in a precarious position and roofs blowing off properties.

Police are advising motorists to allow extra time for their journeys, reduce their speed, leaver greater distance between themselves and the vehicle in front and consider the likelihood that there could be a fallen tree or debris on the road ahead.

Ipswich Borough Council’s parks and cemeteries will reopen early this afternoon after council staff carried out a safety assessment following last night’s wild weather.

“We will reopen parks this afternoon but we still advise people to take caution in open spaces,” a spokesman said.

All football games scheduled for this morning and afternoon at Whitton and Gainsborough sports centres, Ransomes and Ipswich parks have been cancelled following a further pitch inspection.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has issued a yellow warning for ice in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, and the Environment Agency have issued flood alerts for the Bury Brook, Rattlesden River and River Gipping through and including Stowmarket and Needham Market, the River Deben from and including Debenham to Bromeswell and the River Lark from Clopton to Martlesham, and the River Waveney from Diss to Ellingham including Bungay.

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