UPDATED: Storm Doris brings bridge and park closures, power cuts and fallen trees to Suffolk
The A14 Orwell Bridge has been closed due to strong winds caused by Storm Doris.
Highways England is advising motorists to carefully plan their journeys and consider whether they need to travel around Ipswich during the closure as significant delays are expected.
An amber alert for gales across the East Anglia until this evening has been issued by the Met Office, with gusts of between 60 and 70mph expected around the Orwell Bridge.
Gusts of between 55mph and 65mph are predicted on the A14, along with heavy rain and surface water.
Highways England says it will reopen the bridge ‘as soon as it is safe to do so’ but warns that is unlikely to happen before this afternoon’s peak time.
A planned diversion route is clearly signposted via the A1156, A1189 and A1214 through Ipswich.
Elsewhere, power cuts are affecting people across the area, fallen trees are causing traffic chaos and West Stow Country Park has announced it will be closing at 1.30pm.
Abbey Gardens, Nowton Park and both Bury and Haverhill cemeteries have also closed.
Suffolk Highways tweeted at 2.30pm that it was dealing with more than 200 fallen trees.
Residents in Ridley Road, on Bury St Edmunds Westley Estate, had a lucky escape when the winds brought down two trees, narrowly missing their homes.
Resident Richard Fogelberg said: “It’s lucky they weren’t older and taller or they would have hit the house.”
Matthew Dick, Havebury Housing Partnership’s head of assets said: “Working with our grounds maintenance partners, Ground Control, we cut down three trees that were at risk of causing additional damage and removed the two trees that had fallen down.
“The team have since ensured that the area is safe and will return tomorrow to clear away any debris.”
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to reports of a tree having fallen on an electricity pole in Brandon which was believed to be sparking at around 10.50am.
A crew from Brandon cordoned off the area, made the scene safe and handed it over to UK Power Networks.
A number of trees have also come down in the Icklingham Road, West Stow, area.
Police arrived on the scene at 11.20am and have closed the road from the junction with the A1101.
Earlier, shortly after 10.10am, police received reports of a ‘large branch’ across one side of the A134 carriageway.
It fell just outside of Bradfield Combust and was affecting traffic travelling towards Bury St Edmunds from Sudbury.
A police spokeswoman said: “Highways were advised and attended, and the road was clear just after 11.15am.
At Bury’s West Suffolk House three capping sheets from the parapet wall were dislodged by the wind. As a precautionary measure, the section of footpath below and one side of the road were cordoned off. All the sheets are now safely down and the road is fully open but the borough council is keeping the footpath closed while the winds remain high.
Suffolk Police are warning road users to take extra caution on the roads today.
Drivers are advised to be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space.
Meanwhile, across the border, Norfolk County Council’s highways team and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have responded to a high number of wind-related calls across the county from 12.30pm. Incidents have included structural damage to roads and properties, damage caused by trees, electrical cables being brought down and road accidents.
Highways have sent out 24 crews to 128 reports about incidents of trees that have fallen or are damaged or dangerous.
For up to date travel information, go to www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information.
The latest weather forecast can be seen at www.metoffice.gov.uk.
For more on the disruption expected to be caused by Storm Doris, see click here.
For information on power cuts visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk or call 105.
Got any pictures of storm damage? Please email them to email@example.com with location details and your phone number.