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Everything you need to know about Storm Doris as it sweeps through Suffolk and Essex

PUBLISHED: 13:06 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:28 23 February 2017

People brave the Felixstowe prom as Storm Doris hits the coast.
Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown

People brave the Felixstowe prom as Storm Doris hits the coast. Picture:Sarah Lucy Brown

A not-so-frighteningly named storm is set to wreak havoc on our roads today with gusts of up to 65mph expected on the A14 and A12.

We will bring you everything you need to know about Storm Doris throughout the day including updates on the Orwell Bridge closure and diversion routes across Ipswich.

There is mounting concern that its high wind speeds could cause damage and disruption across the region.

In the meantime, here is a run-down of everything you need to know about Storm Doris and the effect it could have on your day.

Why is it called Storm Doris? The Met Office and its Irish counterpart (Met Éireann) have started naming storms to try and increase awareness of severe weather – in turn helping keep the public safe. Storms are named in Britain when they have the potential to cause an amber or red weather warning to be issued. Successive storms are named alphabetically (though some letters are missed out for various reasons) to a list chosen by the Met Office (from public suggestions), and Doris is just the next on the list. The storm was officially named on February 21, 2017.

The 2016/17 storm name list started with Angus, Barbara and Conor (all in November and December last year), and the next three named storms will be Ewan, Fleur and Gabriel (the names alternate between male and female too). You can see a full list of 2016/17 storm names and more information about how the Met Office names storms here.

What warnings have been issued? There are three types of weather warning the Met Office can issue – yellow (be aware), amber (be prepared) and red (take action). Currently there is an amber warning in force for much of East Anglia, including the whole of Suffolk. The most recent warning was issued just before 10am yesterday (February 22) and is valid from 6am to 8pm today (February 23).

In addition to the weather warnings there are also two Environment Agency flood alerts in place. These are the lowest of the three flood-related warnings (flood alert, flood warning, severe flood warning), and apply to the tidal rivers Waveney and Yare this evening. Some areas around Lowestoft and Beccles may be affected.

How high could wind speeds get? Current forecasts suggest some stronger gusts could potentially reach 60-70mph later today.

Such strong winds could cause damage to buildings, bring down trees and cause travel disruption.

We have already seen power cuts in the Boxford area wherearound 400 homes are without electric.

What is a weatherbomb? The difference between surrounding higher pressure areas and the rapidly deepening area of low pressure associated with Storm Doris is what will cause the strong winds.

Because of how rapidly this drop occurs (at least 24millibars in 24 hours, for interested weather fans) and the extreme effects this can cause, forecasters call it a ‘weather bomb’. It’s scientific name, no less dramatically, is explosive cyclogenesis.

Will the Orwell Bridge close? Highways England, responsible for safety of road users on the bridge, have now closed the bridge until 5pm because of the high winds.

Motorists are being sent on a diversion through Ipswich, which is standard procedure for when the bridge is closed. This is clearly signposted and takes drivers via the Felixstowe Road (A1156), Bixley Road and Heath Road (A1189), and Colchester Road, Valley Road, Chevallier Street, Yarmouth Road and London Road (A1214).

Is there likely to be other travel disruption? With the Orwell Bridge closed there will be a knock-on effect around Ipswich. With no other route around or over the River Orwell other than through the town roads will quickly become gridlocked - with the issues expected to last well into the evening rush hour.

High wind speeds could also have an effect on minor roads if trees or telegraph poles are brought down, while railways can be affected in similar ways as well as being potentially vulnerable to damage to the overhead electric power lines. If the Port of Felixstowe closes, HGVs will also be subjected to Operation Stack while they wait for it to reopen which uses roads between Nacton and Trimley.

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