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Power cuts and trees down as winds from Storm Francis hit Norfolk and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 07:12 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:31 26 August 2020

A tree was brought down on Stoke Road. Pic: Ryan Williams.

A tree was brought down on Stoke Road. Pic: Ryan Williams.

Ryan Williams

Dozens of homes were left without power and trees were brought crashing down as Storm Francis lashed parts of Norfolk and Suffolk.

More than 200 homes were hit by a power cut. Pic: UK Power CutsMore than 200 homes were hit by a power cut. Pic: UK Power Cuts

Parts of the UK were battered by gusts of more than 80mph as the storm moved over the country, and the windy weather caused problems in the Eastern region.

Dan Holley, from University of East Anglia-based forecasters Weatherquest, said the highest gusts in Norfolk were recorded at Weybourne, with winds of 58mph.

He said Marham saw winds of 55mph and winds of 52mph were recorded in Norwich.

There were power cuts in the area around Briston, Edgefield and Melton Constable, with more than 35 properties affected.

UK Power Networks became aware of the power cut at just before 2am today (Wednesday, August 26). They said: “Our staff have advised that significant tree-trimming and overhead cabling repairs are going to be needed before power can be restored.

“To do this safely, we also need to arrange a road closure. We’re sending further specialist teams and equipment as soon as they become available, but based on this we’re going to adjust our estimated timeframe to between 10.30am and 11.30am for power to be back on.”

There were also homes left without power this morning in the Hethersett, Hingham and Weston Longville areas.

Firefighters from Stalham and Marthan were called to How Hill at Ludham at just after 2.20am to reports that electricity cables were arcing.

The crews made the scene safe.

At 10.30pm last night, fire crews from Thetford and East Harling had been sent to arcing cables at Lynford, although the services of the brigade were not needed.

Firefighters were called to help deal with a number of trees which were downed amid the blustery weather.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team from Dereham was called to a tree which had fallen on the A47 near Caister On Sea at just before 11.30pm last night.

The crews used chainsaws to remove the tree and had made the scene safe by 1.15am.

Not longer after, the chainsaws were needed again to clear a fallen tree on the A1075 at Stow Bedon. That was cleared by 2.45am.

MORE: Trees fall on vehicles in Norwich car park

Driver Ryan Williams had a scare because a tree branch had crashed down on to the road in front of him on the Stoke Road between Stoke Holy Cross and Norwich last night.
Mr Williams, from Essex, who is staying in Norwich, was driving at about 10.30pm when he had to screech to a halt because of the fallen branch.

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He said: “It gave me quite a scare. It was just after a drop so I didn’t see it until the last minute and there’s no street lights around there.

“I put on my brakes and managed to stop. I called the police and they came out to the scene, but I had to do a u-turn and head back another way.”

And, in Suffolk, the A47 was shut near Lowestoft because of a fallen tree. Highways England said the northbound carriageway was shut near Gunton due to a tree that had fallen in the carriageway. They said contractors were en route to clear.

Firefighters were also called to deal with unsafe structures at Lovell Gardens in Watton and at Catfield.

The Met Office had issued yellow warnings for rain that cover Northern Ireland and parts of England, Wales and Scotland until 6am today, while a yellow warning for wind was in place for much of England and Wales until 9am.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “Francis has now pretty much moved off shore and it’s now just a slow gradual improvement.”

The strongest gusts recorded on Tuesday was the 81mph wind that hit The Needles near the Isle of Wight at around 8pm.

This is just short of the August record for the UK which was 87mph recorded in 1996.

Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, Wales, saw gusts of 75mph, equalling the Welsh August gust record of the 75mph recorded at Milford Haven in August 1979.

The wettest place on Tuesday was Bethesda in north Wales where 101mm of rain was recorded.

Meanwhile, the fire service in Northern Ireland said 37 people were rescued from flood water.

Elderly residents had to be rescued from the County Down coastal resort town of Newcastle after a river burst its banks, and in Draperstown, Co Londonderry, rescuers had to save nine people from inside a house, along with four outside who were trying to help.

A boat was used to help residents in Newcastle, a picturesque east coast town on the edge of the Mourne Mountains.

Up to 300 homes have been affected and streets left under three or four feet of water, a local representative said.

South Wales Police said they were involved in two separate water searches from the swollen River Taff and fire crews had to rescue holidaymakers from a flooded campsite in the town of St Clears, Carmarthenshire, after river levels rose in the area.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said nine people and two dogs were rescued by fire service personnel using a swift rescue sledge, lines and wading gear.

Crews also gave medical treatment to one man and evacuated 30 other people from a flooded caravan site in Wiseman’s Bridge, Narberth, while 12 caravans were also removed from the site.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Rod Dennis said that, until the middle of Wednesday, drivers need to brace themselves for some “very unpleasant” conditions on the roads.

“An amber weather warning covering a swathe of western Britain means there is a real risk of disruption to journeys from flying debris such as tree branches.

“Surface spray and perhaps some localised flooding are also possible,” he said.


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