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Storm a bit of a damp squib
5:00pm Friday 1st November 2013 in News
The St Jude’s storm that threatened to engulf Wiltshire was less of an ill wind than predicted but it still gave comm uters a miserable Monday morning.
The 80mph winds brought down 200 trees across the county, blocking roads and forcing rail firms to withdraw services across the region.
Wiltshire Council had around 15 extra crews on duty around the clock, with a total of 120 staff working to remove debris.
Coun John Thomson, Cabinet member for highways, said Monday’s clear-up cost around £40,000, with money coming from Wiltshire Council’s £250,000 emergency fund.
Coun Thomson said: “Dealing with fallen trees is a dangerous job because you don’t know if they’ve caught any live electricity cables, but all the staff are well trained and performed very well.”
The weather resulted in around 110,000 homes across the south being left without electricity, including Trowbridge, where more than 100 householders had no power until mid-morning.
Southern Electric had 1,100 engineers working to fix fallen power lines. Craig Gilroy, head of operations, said: “The co-ordination and enormity of the task faced by engineers was significant. This was largely due to the challenging access conditions and amount of mature trees that had to be cleared before repairs could be undertaken. We would like to thank customers for their patience during this exceptional event.”
Great Western Rail put 50mph speed restrictions on trains, but fallen branches across the lines caused delays and cancellations to London-bound services.
South West Trains had a reduced service running via Westbury and Trowbridge between Exeter and London until lunchtime.
Wiltshire Police were kept equally busy, receiving around 120 calls with reports of fallen trees and minor collisions.
It’s the wettest month so far
STEEPLE Ashton amateur weatherman Geoff Witts said Wiltshire had 20.6ml of rainfall Sunday into Monday.
The county had 115ml of rain during October making it the year’s wettest month.
Mr Witts said: “There hasn’t been much to compare it to this year. For example, we had four wetter months, than this October, last year. I’m amazed how the forecasters expected the storm for over a week. There was heavy rain, which obviously combined with the winds to bring trees down, but it was nothing compared to the storms of 1987 and 1990.”
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