Major clear-up after winds cause havoc

VIDEO A major clear-up operation is continuing today after the region was battered by winds of more than 60mph.Millions of pounds of damage was caused at Felixstowe port when two 200ft cranes crashed to the ground.

A MAJOR clear-up operation is continuing today after the region was battered by winds of more than 60mph.

Millions of pounds of damage was caused at Felixstowe port when two 200ft cranes crashed to the ground, and elsewhere in the region homeowners endured a miserable weekend when their electricity supply was cut.

There was also a warning last night from forecasters that bad weather could return today with the threat of snow showers.

Chris Bell, of Weatherquest, said: “It will be breezy on Monday and turning colder as we go through the day with a top temperature of 7C. There is a slight chance of some snow showers late Monday and early Tuesday, and if anything it would be in the north east corner of Suffolk.”

High winds took their toll in the early hours of Saturday morning, causing scores of accidents, felling trees and bringing down power cables.

The dramatic scenes at Felixstowe port began after the Zhen Hua 23 ship arrived with five cranes and, according to a crane driver working at the port, the ship broke its moorings and started to move down the quay.

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Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs for the port, said yesterday: “One of the cranes - which was not destined for Felixstowe - on the ship struck one of the shoreside cranes, leading that to collapse and that appears to have brought down the second shoreside crane.

“It appears that the three cranes for Felixstowe have not been damaged in any way.”

The accident occurred at Landguard Terminal and Mr Davey said that the area in which the cranes were damaged would not be used for a while. Thankfully, no-one was injured in the incident.

He added: “There should not be undue delays caused to ships. Most of the ships would be bound for Trinity terminal which has not been affected.”

Suffolk police received more than 100 weather-related calls in a two-hour period on Saturday morning while Suffolk Fire Service handled more than a dozen calls in connection with fallen trees and ''arcing'' electricity cables.

Up to 3,000 electricity customers lost power when the high winds struck some time after 1am with 1,700 households without electricity in the Bungay area and a further 900 at Beccles.

The remainder of those affected were in the Bury St Edmunds area, Polstead, Hadleigh, Diss and outlying areas.

A spokesman for EDF Energy said the majority of customers had power restored by Sunday morning and engineers hoped to have everyone back to a normal supply by last night.

“We apologise to all our customers - we know how frustrating it is, especially at a weekend,” he said.

In Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, a couple were woken in the early hours by a peculiar creaking sound only to discover a 40ft tree had landed on their detached pink cottage.

The couple, of Bury Road, who asked not to be named, only realised something was wrong when they looked out of their bedroom window and saw thick branches drooping down just inches in front of them.

Had the tree fallen just a few feet to the left, it would have landed on their BMW sports car. The full extent of the damage to the cottage is currently unknown.

Firefighters in Essex also received about 20 calls concerning trees brought down by the gales.

In Braintree, the fire service were called to the Freeport Centre where panes of glass had been blown out of a Halfords store and were left hanging precariously, swinging in the wind.

Police also received a number of calls, a force spokeswoman said, and the majority of these were also passed on to local councils to deal with.

The East of England Ambulance Trust said the adverse weather conditions had caused “a lot of trouble” for crews, with two reports of debris in the road delaying their route to patients.

A spokesman said: “We struggled to get to a couple of jobs. We were delayed in getting to a patient near Aldeburgh, and in Norfolk, a crew tried three different routes to get to a patient because each one was blocked by a tree or debris.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Hurley, owner of the White Horse pub, in Tattingstone, near Ipswich, will be contacting English Heritage for advice after wind damaged a model of a white horse outside his 17th century Grade II listed property.

The wooden carved white horse had stood on the top of a tall pole outside the pub for more than 100 years, but was brought crashing down by the wind.

Mr Hurley said: “It is a shame and unfortunate. We will have to restore it. A lot of people have had serious problems with bad weather around here.”

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