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Weather leaves 35,000 homes powerless

PUBLISHED: 11:38 08 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

AFTER an evening of weather conditions that cut power to 35,000 East Anglian homes, and brought back fearful memories of the October 1987 hurricane, Suffolk Police today warned motorists to take extra caution.

AFTER an evening of weather conditions that cut power to 35,000 East Anglian homes, and brought back fearful memories of the October 1987 hurricane, Suffolk Police today warned motorists to take extra caution.

The south westerly gales – at times reaching 60 mph in exposed areas – struck the county last night as the result of a mini-tornado earlier in the weekend.

Thousands of homes across the region were without electricity as the gusts brought down overhead high voltage power lines and as engineers worked through the night to restore normality, more people woke up today to find they too were power-less.

And although the worst of the squalls have now moved out across the North Sea, its effects are still being felt, said Evening Star weatherman, Ken Blowers.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles and those travelling in exposed and coastal areas are still being advised to take it easy as the blustery conditions continue today.

Three people were rescued in a yacht off the banks of the River Orwell at Pin Mill yesterday after they were caught up in the bad weather.

The Telemont yacht capsized and a rescue operation was launched by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club, with help from the Harwich in-shore lifeboat and Holbrook coastguard.

The vessel was pulled into Wolverstone Marina at about 4.25pm. The victims were described as "uninjured and lucky."

Although there was no reports of injuries the high winds caused havoc with power lines across Norfolk and Suffolk with Woodbridge, Tattingstone, Capel St Mary, Martlesham and Stowmarket areas affected.

Angela Lawrence, spokeswoman for 24seven, the company responsible for the power line network, said today that they extend their apologies to the customers affected, and gave assurances that everyone should be back to normal by midday.

"We had 35,000 customers across our network without power and had crews out all night repairing the overhead high voltage cables that had come down in the wind.

"Then as people woke up this morning they found they too were without electricity and our engineers continued working to repair these faults as well," said Ms Lawrence.

Mr Blowers added: "Today there will be slight improvement but still with strong winds and heavy showers.

"The depression which caused this came up from the west and crossed the UK. Although it has moved across the North Sea we are till under its effect," he added.

As Saturday's mini-tornado moved across the region it also created a column of debris half a mile high as it swept across an area of Norfolk.

Wooden houses used as holiday homes in Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Boards were badly damaged, and electricity poles and telephone lines were brought down.

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