December 13 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Power cuts, upturned trees and tumbling debris wrought chaos on east Suffolk yesterday as gale force winds battered communities during a brief but intense burst of ferocious weather.
Forecasters confirmed St Jude’s was near the height of her powers over East Anglia with wind speeds of 76mph recorded in Suffolk – the UK’s eighth strongest all day.
“It appears that parts of Suffolk were among the hardest hit,” said Chris Bell, a forecaster for Weatherquest.
Coastal communities bore the brunt of the impact, according to local reports, with lengthy power outages and upturned trees causing mayhem on the roads.
Orford Business Association chairman David Watson, owner of the Crown and Castle hotel, said the village has been brought to its knees by the third substation fault in recent history.
“The hotel can’t heat or cook or do anything with its guests and at this moment in time there’s nothing working in the village until tomorrow – it’s a nightmare” he said.
Winds also caused “serious damage” to Orford Methodist Chapel when a concrete pinnacle fell from the roof to leave a gaping hole behind. “It’s not looking good,” said Pam Calley, the chapel steward’s wife.
Fallen trees forced the closure of Felixstowe cemetery and many houses also lost roof tiles in the gales.
Mayor Jan Garfield said the storm was the worst in her 11 years in the town – though she had expected even greater problems. “It’s not been as bad as we expected,” she said.
Peasenhall resident Paul Nightingale saw three trees fall in rapid succession, trapping a lorry driver for several hours and causing damage to a property on Rendham Road.
And negotiating the fallen branches along the A12 to the south of Saxmundham was like “playing dodgems” according to town clerk Anne Chapman.
The Mayor of Aldeburgh Sara Fox has praised clearance teams for their quick work removing trees from roads after a mighty trunk came crashing down in front of her car. “They did an amazing job,” she said.
Suffolk’s former NFU chairman, John Cullen, paid tribute to the advance warnings which helped the county’s farmers to minimise their losses.
However the warnings were not enough to prevent the roof tearing off the top of Yoxford farmer David Boden’s grain store. “300t of wheat to try and protect now! Never a dull moment in farming!” he tweeted.
Further inland, despite power outages and fallen trees, reports were of a less ferocious storm.
Suffolk Coastal’s councillor for Framlingham, Christopher Hudson, said he thought the town had been “very fortunate compared to some”, with similar reports from Leiston, Woodbridge and Wickham Market. “We’ve got off very lightly,” said councillor Ann Nunn, Leiston chairman.