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Violent storm to hit Suffolk at weekend - could Orwell Bridge be forced to close?

PUBLISHED: 16:42 06 February 2020

Storm Ciara is heading to Suffolk this weekend. Picture: MICK WEBB

Storm Ciara is heading to Suffolk this weekend. Picture: MICK WEBB

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Storm Ciara will bring strong winds to Suffolk this weekend and into early next week - with Highways England confirming speeds could exceed the 50mph threshold and cause the Orwell Bridge to close.

A yellow weather warning for high winds has been put in place by the Met Office, which will last from 6pm on Saturday to midnight on Sunday.

Highest speeds of up to 70mph are predicted for parts of Suffolk on Sunday afternoon - which according to the Beaufort scale is classed as a "violent storm".

Adam Dury, a forecaster at Weatherquest, said wind speeds will start to increase on Saturday night, with gusts of 40-50mph.

Speeds will then slightly decrease overnight but will pick up on Sunday afternoon, with Mr Dury confirming gusts of around 60-70mph.

He said: "The strongest winds will be on Sunday afternoon, but it is likely Suffolk could see 50mph winds again throughout Monday and Tuesday."

Suffolk residents are advised to expect some delays to road and rail transport, as well as spray and large waves in coastal areas.

There is also a slight chance of some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs.

If the wind speeds do hit predicted speeds, a decision will be made by Highways England to close the Orwell Bridge.

The Orwell Bridge typically closes to all traffic if wind gusts of 50mph are predicted to a high degree of certainty in a non-favourable direction - although it has been closed in lower wind speeds.

Highways England has confirmed it will be monitoring the weather closely in the lead up to the weekend and throughout.

In a tweet, it said: "We've had an updated forecast which shows strong winds from early Sunday morning to mid-afternoon Sunday.

"We're continuing to monitor but currently that is the risk as period forecasts show going over threshold."

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