Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting HG to 80360, or email us Click here for more details »
Monday's disruption: Transport delays as Essex prepares for storm
Updated 9:03am Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
This live event has finished
- 1,800 homes in Essex without power
- Severe delays on Greater Anglia trains
- Overnight wind speeds reached 64mph
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has received more than 90 weather-related calls since 6pm yesterday.
A spokesman said: "Up until midnight crews were called to incidents involving trees, structures and damage caused by the high winds and after midnight the service was called to mostly water related incidents which including flooding on the roads and in people's homes."
A12 flooding and surface water in the areas of Kelvedon, Rivenhall and Dedham— @Essex_Travel 24 December 2013
Danbury, Main Road (A414) flooding on the Danbury Bends, just past the Griffin PH as you go down the hill to Eves Corner— @Essex_Travel 24 December 2013
Maldon: Holloway Road in Heybridge is closed due to flooding.
Maldon Road in Latchingdon is blocked both ways due to a fallen tree between B1018 Cold Norton Road and Burnham Road.
There are also reports of flooding on the A414 in Maldon and between Wickham Bishops and Maldon.
Latest update from Greater Anglia:
"Network Rail and Greater Anglia staff have been working through the night to assess and repair any damage to the infrastructure. Thanks to their efforts we are now able to start running limited services on all routes with the exception of those shown below.
"Services via Thorpe Le Soken are suspended until further notice owing to overhead wire damage between Weeley and Thorpe Le Soken. A road replacement service is currently being resourced to operate between Colchester and Clacton on Sea, and Thorpe Le Soken to Walton on the Naze. it is anticipated that buses will be in place after 9am. First Essex bus routes 74 and 76 operate between Clacton and Colchester and routes 7 and 8 operate between Walton on the Naze and Clacton on Sea, Greater Anglia tickets are valid on these services
"The Manningtree to Harwich Town branch line is currently suspended due to overhead wire damage. A road replacement service is currently being resourced it is anticipated that buses will be in place after 9am, First Essex bus routes 103 and 104 operate between Harwich and Colchester via Manningtree, Greater Anglia tickets are valid on these services.
"All other Greater Anglia routes are now open and train services are being re-instated however only a limited train service is currently in operation and customers are advised to delay their journeys until later in the day unless their journeys are essential."
1,800 homes without power in Essex this morning.— @CarolineTilley1 24 December 2013
Wind gusts of 77mph the other side of the Thames now. Highest so far in Essex is 64mph in Grays.— @EssexWeather 24 December 2013
Power supplies holding up well in Essex so far. Tens of thousands of homes in Kent and Surrey haven't been so lucky tonight.— @EssexWeather 23 December 2013
Latest radar showing the extent of the rainfall across England and Wales: http://t.co/5pcNjsEqnj— @EssexWeather 23 December 2013
River levels in Essex have seen a minor response so far today from latest rainfall. No flood warnings are currently in force.— @EssexWeather 23 December 2013
Train operator Greater Anglia is no longer putting a timeframe on when it hopes to resume services tomorrow. On its website, it says trains will start "as soon as it is safe to do so". Earlier today, Greater Anglia had stated services would not be running until at least 10am.
To report a power cut or damaged power lines, residents can call UK Power Networks on 0800 783 8838.
Any issues with the roads run by Essex County Council can be reported to its Highways department on 0845 603 7631.
If there are issues with fallen trees which are not affecting the road network in the county council area they can call 0845 606 7624.
Essex Police are asking people to call 101 to report any weather-related issues unless it is a genuine emergency.
Current forecasts suggest that the strongest winds are likely to hit Essex between midnight and 6am on Christmas Eve with the possibility that trees may be blown down and some damage could be caused to buildings.
Chief Superintendent Andy Prophet, of Essex Police, said: "We would advise people not to travel unless absolutely necessary until the winds have lessened and to take appropriate steps to secure their homes and property against the weather.
"There is a potential for trees and power lines to come down as a result of the wind and for flying debris to be a danger at the peak of the storm. If possible, people should stay inside until the worst of the weather has passed.
"If someone is in a situation where life is threatened or there is a genuine emergency then people should call 999 but to allow police to deal with the most vital calls we would ask members of the public to call 101 in less extreme circumstances."
Predicted average wind speeds at 1am. Gusts will be around 80-85mph at the same time via @WeatherCast_UK: http://t.co/M6AIK551h5— @EssexWeather 23 December 2013
Essex County Council confirm there will be NO change in policy tonight. Street lighting off at midnight as normal #baddecision— @EssexWeather 23 December 2013
Please be careful on road. Just drove back on a12 and its horrendous in that wind. Cars jerking all over the place— @james_coxNQE 23 December 2013
We’re watching this weather closely because it can disrupt power lines & cables. Watch @ukpowernetworks 24/7 for live power cut updates.— @UKPNnews 23 December 2013
RT @EnvAgency: Our live flood warnings map updates every 15mins. It shows the locations at risk: http://t.co/ICT7oADplV #ukstorm http://t.c…— @Felstedboy 23 December 2013
Be prepared for any fallen trees or flying debris especially if you are out and about tonight and into the morning. @PreparedInEssex— @MaldonDC 23 December 2013
Essex County Council has not yet confirmed if it will keep street lights switched on overnight. The authority suspended its part-night lighting scheme, which operates in Colchester, Braintree, Maldon and Uttlesford districts, during October's St Jude storm.
The Christmas tree in Witham town centre has been removed after being damaged in the bad weather.
A Braintree Council spokesman said: "Despite efforts to repair the tree, unfortunately it has become unsafe, and with the expected high winds over tonight and tomorrow a joint decision has been taken by the Rotary Club, town and district councils to remove it.
"A tree surgeon will be on site shorty, and will be accompanied by district council staff who will clear the debris and ensure the site is safe.”
More from Essex Weather Centre meteorologist Tom Defty: “The Met Office warning for 85mph winds I have never seen before for Essex, so who knows what Friday’s storm will bring.
“It is not a good Christmas and certainly not a white Christmas - it is certainly a very bleak outlook.”
Travel: The Dartford Crossing QE2 bridge is now CLOSED due to high winds. Diversion via the east tunnel. Long delays. http://t.co/L6ETOwfxF5— @YourSouthend 23 December 2013
Christmas has finished early in Witham as they are dismantling the Christmas tree in the high street. #UKStorm— @jordan_welshy 23 December 2013
Power cuts this evening/overnight in parts of Essex 'inevitable' according to @UKPowerNetworks and households should plan ahead— @EssexWeather 23 December 2013
Tom Defty, from the Essex Weather Centre, has warned tonight's storm could be worse than the St Jude storm in late October, because it will be longer-lasting.
He said: “The difference between this and the storm in October is the duration.
“It could be 12 hours, rather than just one or two, so the effect on the power network and transport will be greater.
“There will be another storm on Friday, so it is two big events in five days."
If you’re worried about flooding, make sure you sign up for free flood warnings from @EnvAgency http://t.co/PaUvWyMmzJ #floodaware #ukstorm— @EnvAgency 23 December 2013
Click here to read the latest advice from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Residents are being advised to be prepared to move furniture and property upstairs if they are concerned about water entering their home.
Essex County Council (ECC) is putting extra highways crews on standby to help clear debris from the road network and assist partner organisations.
Rodney Bass, ECC cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “I would urge residents to travel with caution during these expected stormy conditions by leaving sufficient time to travel and by ensuring their vehicles are best prepared to deal with adverse conditions and traffic disruption.
"It is also advisable before setting out to check the latest weather forecasts and travel updates on local radio and online."
The latest Met Office warning for the region predicts gusts of up to 85mph.
A statement said: "The public should be prepared for disruption, particularly to travel and for interruptions to power supplies."
Greater Anglia's decision not to run replacement bus services while it suspends trains tomorrow morning has been criticised by a rail user group.
David Bigg, chairman of Witham and Braintree Rail Users Association, said: “It is the right decision giving everyone warning and even putting out written notices.
“But they should try to make some provision for buses, which they aren’t going to do.
“There is no school run, so there should be buses available and I am surprised no effort has been made as some people simply must go to work.”
Team patrolling strategic roads assisting with weather related issues. #Takecare #Slow— @EPAdamPipe 23 December 2013
The QEII Bridge will be closing in a few minutes' time at 12noon. Essex Police have confirmed they expect the bridge to stay closed until 4am tomorrow.
Reminder to #boat owners on our rivers to make sure you are moored securely as we expect #river levels to rise over the next few days— @MarkHeelisEA 23 December 2013
Flights operating as normal @STN_Airport but with weather warnings in place for much of the UK allow extra time for journey to the airport.— @STN_Airport 23 December 2013
RT @metdesk: Latest model run showing tonight's #ukstorm still looking brutal. 70-80mph winds in the southeast. http://t.co/uzFs8p0abm— @BraintreeDC 23 December 2013
More than 70 train services have been altered or cancelled by Greater Anglia, starting at 3.45pm today. For full details, click here.
Today's #UKstorm likely to mean #flood alerts & maybe warnings in #Essex later. Latest info: http://t.co/eyGhxyXJ3q— @MattButcherEA 23 December 2013
#UKStorm - We have suspended all ticket restrictions including all Advanced Purchase ticket restrictions for today. GK— @greateranglia 23 December 2013
See here for National Rail's advice on service disruptions.
The Dartford Bridge will close at noon today as #Essex prepares itself for heavy rain and high winds... http://t.co/fzKwuUDUCK— @GaryPearson13 23 December 2013
The storm, which is set to hit today, is officially named "Dirk."
Greater Anglia will be running trains at a reduced speed from 6pm until the end of today.
It will then be running no services at all on its network until 10am tomorrow.
A spokesman said: "This is to allow us to run train at low speed along each line on our network in daylight in order to check for damage to overhead wires and/or any debris from the storm.
"This will ensure that we can safely run trains and we will update customers throughout Tuesday morning as lines reopen.
"Customers are advised that replacement buses will not be available and are advised not to travel before 10am as well as checking their line is open prior to setting out."
More information at http://www.greateranglia.co.uk
RT @EssexWeather: Worth pointing out at this early stage, another, perhaps more intense storm is likely to impact large parts of UK on Frid…— @essexsnow 23 December 2013
RT @Stansted_Exp: #UKStorm Important information for customers travelling on 23/24 December: http://t.co/ht3mEfmbim. Please RT. GK— @jo_holliday85 23 December 2013
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind and rain from 7am today until 9am tomorrow morning.
A Met Office spokesman said: "Another intense area of low pressure is expected to track close to the UK during Monday and into Christmas Eve.
"Associated heavy rain is expected to affect southern parts of England and Wales where the ground remains saturated following earlier heavy rainfall.
"Very strong south to southwesterly winds will accompany the rain, especially along exposed coasts and hills where gales or severe gales are likely."
Comments are closed on this article.