Mayhem in wake of storms

Savage storms battered East Anglia yesterday leaving a trail of mayhem that destroyed buildings and felled dozens of trees causing injury and travel chaos.

Savage storms battered East Anglia yesterday leaving a trail of mayhem that destroyed buildings and felled dozens of trees, causing injury and travel chaos.

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

At least nine deaths were seen in Britain but Norfolk and north Suffolk escaped without having any fatalities.

However, emergency services were overwhelmed as gales and flooding caused scores of accidents.

Motorists and pedestrians were hurt after branches and entire trees came crashing down.

Police, fire and ambulance crews fielded hundreds of calls.

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t A tree fell on a car on the A10 at King's Lynn causing minor injuries to all three passengers;

t A man was taken to hospital after being hit by a tree in Carlton Colville;

t A tree fell on to a cyclist on Bluebell Road, Norwich, leaving the 39-year-old with a head injury;

t A conservatory was blown on to the Norwich to Diss rail line at Tivetshall St Margaret and a tree also fell on nearby track, disrupting services;

t A bus was blown off the road on the A10 at Stretham, near Ely, causing a minor injury;

t An 84-year-old man needed hospital treatment after becoming trapped under a fallen tree at Sibton, near Saxmundham;

t Several schools were closed during the afternoon as winds of up to 79mph were felt across the county, including Happisburgh C of E First School, where gales smashed a hall window;

t An ambulance was badly damaged by a falling tree near UEA in Norwich;

t Part of the Lord Roberts pub on Northgate Street in Yarmouth collapsed on to a neighbouring shop;

t Trees damaged houses at Halesworth, Hemsby and Caister;

t A lorry was blown over on the A140 at Dunston;

t A roof blew off an Audi dealership on the A47 near Postwick on to the road;

t A motorcyclist was blown off the A149 at Smallburgh;

t Fallen trees held up traffic on the A11 at Elveden and the A140 at Hainford.

In addition tiles, roofs and parts of buildings collapsed, pedestrians were knocked over, cars were blown on to their sides and several roads wre closed.

The River Yare was put on flood warning and the Environment Agency also issued 22 flood watches including sites all along the Suffolk and Norfolk coast and the rivers Bure and Waveney.

Samantha Von Daniken was a month from opening her antiques shop in the centre of Kettlestone, near Fakenham, when a tree crashed through its roof.

Last night, Ms Von Daniken said the scene of destruction was like something out of the movie Apocalypse Now.

“Just half an hour before the tree came down I was inside the building interviewing for jobs at the new centre. I estimate the damage to be around £20,000 and ironically, the main window is the only thing left .

“I feel like God is against me”, she said.

And a Halesworth couple were left speechless after a tree fell on their house.

The 50ft acacia smashed through their new extension, causing about £8,000 of damage.

Non-emergency ambulance crews were put on standby to help their blue-light colleagues.

Rob Lawrence, locality chief operating officer for Suffolk, said: “It's been absolute chaos out there 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.”