Gales bring down trees in region

GUSTY winds which battered East Anglia early yesterday brought down scores of trees and blocked a string of roads.Highways workers were called in to deal with the worst problems and police said tree surgeons, farmers and members of the public turned out to help the clear up operation to get the worst hit roads back in action.

GUSTY winds which battered East Anglia early yesterday brought down scores of trees and blocked a string of roads.

Highways workers were called in to deal with the worst problems and police said tree surgeons, farmers and members of the public turned out to help the clear up operation to get the worst hit roads back in action.

Weather experts said the winds, which reached 55mph, were the strongest to hit Suffolk this autumn/winter but nothing like the 90mph gales which swept across Wales and the west of England in the early hours of Sunday.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said around 50 trees, branches and large bushes had blocked or partially blocked stretches of road across the county - with the coastal areas worst hit.


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He said the A12 at Friday Street, near Benhall, was completely blocked when a fully grown tree fell at around 7am.

He added: “The situation was made worse when a Vauxhall was in collision with the tree. The vehicle was damaged but the woman driver and her three children, who were with her, suffered no injuries."

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The road was clear by just before 10am and by yesterday afternoon most of the debris had been cleared and the transport network was gradually returning to normal.

The Orwell Bridge remained open throughout the storm, with gusts falling five to 10mph short of the speed which usually results in the landmark having to be closed, added the spokesman.

Weather expert Jim Bacon, of University of East Anglia based Weatherquest, said the wind reached its peak in the latter part of the night: "A weather front started to produce gusts in Suffolk in the order of 50 to 55mph in exposed coastal parts - that was at about 5am. It had cleared out to the North Sea by 9am."

Mr Bacon said the gusts were not exceptionally fierce but were the strongest so far this year.

"We haven't had a wind of this strength for a while and its not surprising that some trees that are old and diseased and weakened are brought down. The wind has given everything a good clear up - which is often the case with the first wind of the season.

"I do, however, think we were quite fortunate that it came this late in the year as most trees had lost their leaves or the leaves that were left were on their last legs."

He said if the winds had come a few weeks earlier when the trees were still in full leaf the number of healthy trees brought down could have been far higher.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said its highways teams, as well as tree surgeons drafted in to clear the debris, worked flat out from 6.30am. She said: “By the time the sun goes down we hope to have everything cleared so the roads are all clear by the morning.”

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