January 02, 2024
Storm Henk brings down tree, injuring woman
A falling tree has injured a woman after Storm Henk brought gusts of up 94mph to large parts of the UK. The woman was injured as the high winds and heavy rain brought on power cuts, transport troubles, property damage and disruption on Tuesday. The Metropolitan police was called at 3.14pm today (Tuesday) to reports that a woman had been struck by a tree in Station Approach, Orpington. A force spokesman said: “Officers attended along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and the London fire Brigade. The woman was taken to hospital. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Her family has been informed.” An amber warning for wind issued by the Met Office covered a central swathe of England, informing the public of possible travel disruption, roof damage and power cuts across southern England, the Midlands, East Anglia and Wales. The strongest gales were recorded at the Needles Old Battery in the Isle of Wight, where wind speeds reached 94mph. Gusts of 81mph were reached at Exeter Airport in Devon, and top winds hit 71mph at the Isle of Portland in Dorset and also at Mumbles Head in Glamorgan. A broad yellow warning for rain was in place on Tuesday (January 2) evening – leaving regions including East Midlands, East of England, London and south-east England, north-west England, south-west England and Wales braced for heavy downpours. It stated: “Following recent wet weather , a further spell of rain, heavy in places, will move north-eastwards on Tuesday. 10-20 mm of rain falling fairly widely, with a few places seeing 30-40 mm, this on top of the overnight rainfall.” The Energy Networks Association – which collates data from all energy providers – estimated that 38,000 customers were without power as a direct result of storm damage, as of 7pm on Tuesday. ENA spokesman Ross Easton said: “Electricity network technicians have reconnected around 102,600 customers since Storm Henk damaged power lines today. Intensive winds, higher than originally forecast, of more than 80mph in places have meant that repairs have been needed to electricity infrastructure and right now engineering teams are working to reconnect supplies as quickly and safely as possible.” There were 246 flood warnings, meaning that flooding is expected, and 353 alerts for possible flooding by 7.15pm, according to the Environment Agency. Stefan Laeger, the Environment Agency’s flood duty manager, said that the heavy rainfall means “significant local flooding” on the River Nene, in the east of England, is “probable” on Tuesday and tomorrow. He said: “Recent and ongoing heavy rain is falling on already very wet ground and could see some riverside locations across England flood until Thursday, while surface water flooding is also possible at times during the next five days in parts of the country. Environment Agency teams will be out on the ground, working to minimise the impacts of flooding where possible. We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and urge people not to drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move car.” Motorists faced difficult driving conditions near Folkestone in Kent. Drivers were also stopped from using the bridge at the Dartford Crossing heading south due to the strong winds. A message on the South Western Railway warned passengers that there were “multiple incidents affecting services across the network” and advised customers not to travel. Thameslink also warned passengers not to travel “unless absolutely necessary” as multiple weather-related incidents across the entire network had affected all routes. National Rail told passengers that various routes across the south west and north west of England along with the Midlands, East Anglia and South Wales could be affected. It added that speed restrictions were being imposed which would mean possible train delays. Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out to The Ford in Kenilworth to rescue a motorist who got stuck trying to drive through flood water. A spokesman said: “Due to the speed of the flowing water we used our inflatable sled to safely rescue the car’s occupants. Please avoid the area and don’t try to drive through flood water.” Images captured by a resident in Tooting, south-west London, also showed a tree that had been blown over by the strong winds. In Greenwich, south-east London, a large panel of scaffolding fell from either side of a building on Creek Road due to the heavy winds. Marketing manager Josh Hargreaves, 30, told the PA news agency that he and his boyfriend had watched the scaffolding “pretty much swaying in the wind” before falling from the front of the building at around 3.40pm. Then, an hour later, scaffolding fell from the back of the building as well.
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