Wind chaos hits county

HUNDREDS of homes in Suffolk were left without power today after gale-force winds brought down power cables.Two schools were closed because of the black-out, while elsewhere gusts of up to 60mph tore down trees, closed Britain's biggest container port, and created difficult driving conditions on the county's roads.

By Richard Cornwell

HUNDREDS of homes in Suffolk were left without power today after gale-force winds brought down power cables.

Two schools were closed because of the black-out, while elsewhere gusts of up to 60mph tore down trees, closed Britain's biggest container port, and created difficult driving conditions on the county's roads.

Elsewhere in the country, in Somerset a man died after a tree fell on his car.

This picture of a fallen tree in Tower Street, Ipswich was captured by Evening Star reader Andre Castle, a health and safety advisor with Acer Safety Services.

He said: “It is a real shame - you expect that sort of thing in the countryside but tend to feel the trees are a bit safer in towns. It was causing chaos around Tower Street and the police were already there. It will be quite a big job to cut that up and take it away.”

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A spokeswoman for EDF Energy Networks said about 600 customers in the Eye area - including Stoke Ash and Wetheringsett primary schools - had a power cut at 5.14am this morning due to a fault on the overhead electricity network caused by the wind.

Engineers are on site and working to restore power as quickly as possible. The company apologised to customers for the inconvenience the blackout was causing.

Felixstowe port was expected to be shut for most of the day.

More than 4,000 lorries use the container terminal daily and truckers were urged to delay their visits and park up and wait for the port to re-open to avoid congestion.

Operation Stack was up and running on the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road with one lane coned off to create a waiting area for the juggernauts, with speed restrictions in place for all drivers. Signs were in place along the dual carriageway to warn people in advance.

Trees had fallen down on the A134 at Barnham, at 4.42am, and in Ractory Road, Great Waldringfield, at 8.45am. They were cut up and removed.

Coastguards are broadcasting warnings of gale force nine winds and storm force ten winds.

High tide today is around 4.30pm and tides this week have been higher than predicted.

In Norfolk, flood warnings were in place on a number of rivers.

Evening Star weatherman Ken Blowers said: “It is all caused by very deep depression to the north of the UK.

“That is going to generate south westerly winds increasing to 50mph.

“Closer to the coast it will get up to 60mph or just over.

“This evening the winds will slowly decrease and temperatures will rise to 54F (12C). This temperature is more typical of early April.

“The outlook for Saturday is more rain.”

Police said the wind had not caused any roads across the region to close as yet but they were monitoring them as well as the Orwell Bridge to see if action needed to be taken.

Tony Woodward, control room supervisor at Ipswich police station, said: “We would advise motorists to take care when out driving at the moment.

“They should adjust their driving for the conditions and look out for standing water on the roads.”

Have you seen any damage could by the high winds? Contact the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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