Chaos as savage storms batter East Anglia

LORNA MARSH Savage storms battered East Anglia today leaving a trail of mayhem that destroyed buildings, left dozens of fallen trees and caused chaos on rail lines littered with debris.

LORNA MARSH

Savage storms battered East Anglia today leaving a trail of mayhem that destroyed buildings, left dozens of fallen trees and caused chaos on rail lines littered with debris.

Experts said that the 80mph winds were more widespread and at least on a par than the infamous gales that lashed the country in 1987.

Seven deaths were seen in Britain but Norfolk and north Suffolk escaped without witnessing any fatalities. However emergency services were overwhelmed as the weather caused scores of accidents.

Injuries were suffered due to trees crashing into cars and buildings as well as dozens of pedestrians and vehicles being toppled by gusts.

Several schools were closed during the afternoon as winds of up to 79mph were seen across the county.

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Reports were received of a conservatory being blown onto the Norwich to Diss rail line at Tivetshall St Margaret and a tree also falling on the track nearby.

An ambulance was badly damaged by a falling tree near the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Part of the Lord Roberts pub on Northgate Street in Yarmouth collapsed onto a neighbouring shop.

A bus was blown off the road on A10 Stretham, near Ely causing one very minor injury.

A motorcyclist was blown off the A149 at Smallburgh.

A tree fell on a car on the A10 at King's Lynn causing minor injuries to all three passengers.

An 84-year-old man needed hospital treatment after becoming trapped under a tree that had fallen on top of him at Sibton, near Saxmundham

A Tree fell on to cyclist on Bluebell Road, Norwich.

The ambulance service was this evening urging people to avoid unnecessary journeys and stay indoors.

Non emergency services crews were put on standby to assist their blue-light colleagues after gale-force winds blasted people, cars, buses and lorries and blew down scaffolding and trees across the region.

Rob Lawrence, locality chief operating officer for Suffolk , asked people to make only essential journeys and take extreme care while driving.

"It's been absolute chaos out there today and, while some of the calls we have attended have sounded worse than they ended up, the potential for serious injury and even death has been tragically illustrated in some parts of the country," he added.

"This type of weather is best viewed from the safety of your home."

Adrian Matthews, associate director of non emergency services, said: "Our non emergency crews are ready to give any support necessary to their colleagues, and this shows the value of an integrated ambulance service providing both emergency and non emergency care."