Storm Bella is on its way - how bad will it be in Suffolk?

Storm Hannah will see heavy rain and windy conditions hit Suffolk and Essex on Saturday afternoon. P

Storm Bella is set to arrive on Boxing Day - Credit: PA

Parts of the country are braced for strong winds this weekend, as Storm Bella strikes on Boxing Day - but how much will impact on Suffolk?

The Met Office has put a "yellow" level weather warning in place for wind tomorrow across much of the East of England.

Winds are set to start at around 20mph in the morning but build up steadily during the afternoon and evening - reaching a predicted peak of 51mph at 3am on Sunday.

Heavy rain is also expected - but Highways England, which manages the A14, has already said it is not expecting to have to close the Orwell Bridge.

Weather warnings for wind for the coming days have been lifted but drivers are still advised to tak

The storms could cause damage to trees and overhead power lines - but the Orwell Bridge is expected to remain open - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The threshold for bridge closures is usually 50mph gusts - but while it said it was anticipating "very strong winds", Highways England's Twitter page added: "Forecasted gusts are just under our thresholds so not planning to close right now."

UK Power Networks said it has been making "extra efforts" to prepare, amid fears the winds could bring down branches and trees and damage overhead power lines.

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Engineers will be able to fix some power cuts quickly without visiting the scene of the damage - but it has warned it may not be possible for teams to climb and repair overhead power lines until the winds have subsided to a safe level.

Head of customer services and innovation, Ian Cameron, said: “We understand how difficult it would be, to be without electricity especially during cold weather and the festive period, and will do our best to restore supplies quickly if there are power cuts.

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“Keeping people safe and fixing power cuts is our priority, so if you see any damaged power lines our advice is to stay away, keep everyone clear and call us on 105.

“We ask people to make sure they are prepared at home too. For example you could charge your mobile phone and devices before the weather hits."

The Met Office said on its website: "The strong south-westerly winds will develop across parts of northern England and the far south of Scotland on Saturday afternoon, before transferring south-eastwards across the rest of England and Wales into Sunday morning, clearing by early Sunday afternoon.

"Inland gusts of 50-60 mph are likely, with the potential for 60-70 mph in some locations.

"Hills and coasts exposed to the south-westerly winds could see gusts of 70-80 mph."

The region has already seen torrential rain on Wednesday into Christmas Eve, causing widespread flooding across the county - with many roads having to be closed after becoming impassable.

Flood alerts were put in place across several parts of the county, but perhaps some of the most striking scenes were at Stowmarket's Rattlesden River.

In another incident, a FedEx van driver had to climb to safety after his vehicle became stuck in flood water at Moulton Packhorse Bridge.

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