Big storm: Cleanup operation begins after winds of up to 80mph hit region

The cleanup operation following yesterday's storm has began

The cleanup operation following yesterday's storm has began

A huge clean-up operation is under way after the worst storm to hit parts of Suffolk and north Essex in more than a decade caused widespread disruption.

East Anglia was battered by hurricane-strength winds of up to 80mph yesterday as the storm brought devastation, moving across the region from the west.

The wind was at its most potent between 7am and 8.30am with strong gusts bringing down trees and power lines as people were setting off to work.

Last night, engineers from UK Power Networks were still trying to restore power to thousands of homes in both Suffolk and Essex.

During the course of the day, more than 300,000 properties in the East had lost power as electricity lines came crashing down, and last night many were still not reconnected.

Suffolk police were flooded with up to 400 calls by noon with 200 coming between 8-9am as the worst of the weather took hold.

Rail commuters were forced onto the roads as train services were cancelled for most of the day.

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Motorists found dozens of roads impassable and Ipswich’s town centre was gridlocked for hours with traffic forced off the shut Orwell Bridge.

A double decker bus overturned in Hadleigh injuring passengers and trapping the driver after being blown into a field.

Part of the one-way system at Ipswich waterfront had to be closed as the hurricane broke-off bricks from buildings on the Waterfront.

The ferocious winds caused Clacton Pier’s Helter Skelter ride to topple over.

Meanwhile, four people died as the storm battered southern Britain. A teenager in Kent and a man in Watford were killed by falling trees. A man and a woman died in west London after a falling tree caused a suspected gas explosion and house to collapse.

David Cameron has said the loss of life as a result of St Jude’s storm was “hugely regrettable”.