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Video: Some power-cut-hit communities reconnected; police say no injuries in today’s storm; tree toppled in Norwich street; warning over Friday storm

PUBLISHED: 09:28 13 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:39 13 February 2014

The large fallen Eucalyptus tree being cleared from Birbeck Road, Lakenham, Norwich. Photo: Steven Adams

The large fallen Eucalyptus tree being cleared from Birbeck Road, Lakenham, Norwich. Photo: Steven Adams

Some communities that lost power in today’s storm have now been reconnected, but others are still waiting for their electricity to be restored.

Cars driving through water on the B1077 Shelfanger and Winfarthing Cars driving through water on the B1077 Shelfanger and Winfarthing

Power cuts had been reported in parts of north-west Norwich, Gorleston, Attleborough, Holt, Bridgham, Stanton, Sapiston, Watlington, Leverington, Hoveton, Hindolveston and Thornage.

• Photo Gallery and video: Norfolk crews provide community help in flood-hit areas in Surrey and Berkshire

• Video: When will it end? Warning that new storm tomorrow will help make this England’s wettest winter for 250 years

Sand is blown off the beach at Southwold during the high winds that have battered the UK. Sand is blown off the beach at Southwold during the high winds that have battered the UK.

• Photos: Beccles pub forced to close its doors after heavy flooding

A number of power cuts were reported between 3pm and 4.30pm, while a number of others were reported between 6.15pm and 6.50pm.

According to UK Power Networks, the affected parts of north-west Norwich, Holt, and Gorleston has been restored by around 9pm.

Weather. A windy Church Street in Cromer.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Weather. A windy Church Street in Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Police said there were no injuries in today’s storm, which saw a two-storey high tree block Birbeck Road in Norwich about 3pm, and reports that police helped after a roof was blown off a garage in Barford, blocking Chapel Lane for a period.

Speaking just before 6pm, Chris Bell, from the UEA_based Weatherquest said: “I think we have seen the worst of the winds now. I have seen reports of some trees down around the city but as we go through the rest of the evening it should start to ease. but it will still be windy for the next couple of hours.”

He said tomorrow will be breezy, but for the most part it should be fairly bright apart from the odd shower. He added that the mix of wind and sun will help to dry to ground.

The Environment Agency has warned that spells of heavy rain and gale-force winds for the East of England on Friday and into the weekend would help make this England’s wettest winter for 250 years.

It could get worse

Spells of heavy rain and gale force winds have been forecast for the East of England from Friday into the weekend, contributing towards making this the wettest winter in 250 years in England.

Norman Robinson from the Environment Agency advised: “People really need to keep an eye on the forecast and local conditions as we move into the weekend. We could have up to 20mm of rain over already wet ground so river levels will rise again and flood plains will get wetter. Travel across the region could be difficult and dangerous in places.”

The East of England, although exceptionally wet, has been fortunate in that less rain has fallen here than elsewhere. The Environment Agency is currently managing water flows through river systems, using flood storage reservoirs such as the Northampton Washlands and Halstead Flood Alleviation Scheme and structures including Denver Sluice, to prevent more widespread flooding. Expected rain, although making levels rise again, should be able to be managed through the river systems in the same way.

Mr Robinson added: “We don’t expect water levels anything near those seen in other parts of the country, but we’re still getting far more rain than we’ve seen for years and everywhere will be extremely wet.

“There could be isolated pockets where homes and businesses flood from surface water or rivers, so people really do need to keep an eye on the local situation.”

The tree which blocked Birbeck Road fell from the garden of Laurie O’Court. No-one was injured, and there was no damage to property.

He said: “Fortunately when it came down there was no-one walking under it. It was 3pm at the time. Children walk past every day with buggies.”

He said he wrote to Norwich City Council on January 6, raising concerns about the safety of the eucalyptus, but said he had not received a reply.

His neighbour Polly Hulme saw the tree fall, and said: “The wind was blowing and the top of the tree was really bent and I could see it was going to go, and all of a sudden it just fell. I was so worried it was going to go on my car.”

Meanwhile, as of 4.30pm the Cambridge to Norwich line was experiencing delays delays due to a tree falling down near Shippea Hill, near Ely.

In Rackheath at 3.40pm a fire crew was sent to help with a trampoline that had blown into a tree and was overhanging onto a road on Dobbs Lane.

Work to repair the damage caused by the storm surge of December 5 continued throughout yesterday’s wind and rain in Cromer which had largely abated by mid-afternoon.

A fire service spokesman said that reports of a large overhanging branch in a dangerous position on Mundesley Road, Paston, turned out to be a false alarm.

By 4pm, Norfolk police control room said it had already received more than a dozen calls from across the county reporting trees or other objects blocking the road or causing a danger to road users.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time for their journeys, reduce their speed, leave greater distances between themselves and the vehicle in front and consider the likelihood that there will be standing water and floods on the roads.

On the Norfolk and Suffolk coast winds had picked up, but so far no major problems have been reported.

Elsewhere in the country, in west Wales and north-west England a red warning - the most severe type and the first of the winter - has been issued for winds of up to 100mph.

The Orwell Bridge, which carries the A14 over the river Orwell near Ipswich, was closed due to high winds, before reopening at 5.15pm.

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team, said: “Driving conditions are going to be extremely hazardous at times today, so heed any police warnings about whether it’s safe to travel.

“With a high risk of travel disruption, local radio really comes into its own. Use your car radio’s traffic announcement or TA function to keep up to speed with road closures and allow plenty of extra time.

“The faster you drive, the further you can get blown off-course, so keep your speed down, particularly on exposed stretches. Take extra care after dark when it’s harder to spot fallen trees and other debris on the roads.”

Have you witnessed problems caused by the weather? Contact the newsdesk at newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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