Potential for Orwell Bridge closure and power cuts as amber weather warning issued ahead of Storm Doris ‘weather bomb’ on February 23

The Orwell Bridge is likely to close on February 23 because of high winds caused by Storm Doris. Pic

The Orwell Bridge is likely to close on February 23 because of high winds caused by Storm Doris. Picture: MICK WEBB - Credit: citizenside.com

The Orwell Bridge is likely to be shut tomorrow as winds of up to 70mph batter parts of Suffolk and north Essex.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning, its second highest alert, urging people to be prepared for strong gales as Storm Doris passes through the region.

Widespread disruption is expected across much of Britain and Northern Ireland with East Anglia and southern Scotland likely to see some of the worst weather.

The forecasting agency has said damage to buildings, power outages and travel disruption could all occur because of Storm Doris, while there could also be a risk of flying debris causing injuries.

This afternoon Highways England confirmed a closure of the A14 over the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich was likely because of the expected wind speeds.

If this happens a diversion will be put in place through Ipswich, which has caused travel chaos in the town in the past.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles, vehicles towing caravans and motorbikes are also advised to take extra care.

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The weather warning, in force from 6am tomorrow until 8pm, did not include Suffolk or Essex when it was initially published yesterday but its scope was revised today to include the county.

Adam Dury, a forecaster at East Anglian-based Weatherquest, said it appeared there would be two peaks in the strength of the wind speed.

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“We shouldn’t have much rain, maybe in the rush hour, but it is only going to be light rain,” he said. “The wind speed might be around 40-50mph and some isolated areas could get up to 60mph.

“Then winds will ease slightly around midday before, after midday, there could be a second peak when we get 50-60mph.

“The Norfolk-Suffolk border could get up to 70mph.”

The storm is likely to bring sustained wind speeds of around 30-35mph as well as the stronger gusts, Mr Dury said, adding there was a risk of trees being blown over or loose property fittings becoming dislodged.

He explained the winds would be caused by “a rapid, deepening low (pressure area)” – something forecasters called a ‘weather bomb’.

With regards to temperatures during the day Mr Dury said: “In the morning temperatures will nearer 10C (50F) first thing. At the end of the day it could be down to 4/5C (39/41F).”

The wind chill factor could make outside temperatures feel close to freezing, Mr Dury added.

UK Power Networks has prepared for strong winds tomorrow which may damage electricity lines, especially across parts of East Anglia.

The company has been monitoring Storm Doris since Monday and has extra teams on duty ready to restore supplies as quickly as possible, as situations arise.

If the storm hits, the company is warning people to keep clear of any damaged power lines and report them to UK Power Networks by calling the power cut helpline on 105.

Matt Rudling, director of customer services at UK Power Networks, said: “We are aware that storm Doris is due to move across some areas of our network tomorrow and plans are place to respond quickly to situations as they arise. We have additional staff on duty covering operational, technical and call centre roles.

“If the storm causes any damage our priorities are to get people reconnected as quickly and a safely as possible, keeping customers updated and looking after our most vulnerable customers.”

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