People across Dacorum have faced road closures and train suspensions this morning following last night’s storms, forecast to be the most severe to hit the UK in more than 25 years.
Police and the Herts highways department were called out to a number of fallen trees or large branches blocking roads in the borough, some of which required specialist attention from tree surgeons.
Apsley’s London Road remains closed after reports that a tree had split down the middle and was dangerous to passing motorists. Police attended the scene near McDonald’s at 7.25am and closed the road after fears that the damaged tree would fall into the carriageway. A tree surgeon has since attended and recommended it be felled, causing the road to stay shut for some time to come.
In Durrants Hill Road, also in Apsley, a fallen tree has caused damage to a traffic light, while in Hall Park Hill, Berkhamsted, a house suffered damage from a fallen tree.
Tree and branch removals have also taken place in a number of roads across the borough, while those relying on public transport to get into work were also faced with delays due to debris on the tracks.
This has led to the suspension of rail services between Watford Junction and London Euston earlier this morning, as well as delays and cancellations on the London Midland rail line from Northampton south towards London.
A London Midland spokesman said: “An extremely limited service is running between Northampton and London Euston. However, we advise you not to travel into London today if at all possible – tickets may be used tomorrow instead.”
If you are planning to travel, check the Twitter account @londonmidland or visit www.journeycheck.com/londonmidland for latest news. Commuters who abandon their journey with London Midland today due to the storm can return their unused tickets where they were bought for a full refund.
A Herts Police spokesman said: “As a result of the current weather conditions, Hertfordshire Constabulary has received a higher than average number of calls relating to trees down and localised flooding across the county.
“As these winds continue through rush hour and during the morning, motorists are being advised to take extra care when driving, leaving plenty of distance between themselves and the car in front.
“Because of the high levels of calls people are advised to only dial 999 in an emergency and where possible, use the non-emergency number 101.”
High winds overnight have also caused damage to power lines across the East of England and South East, interrupting electricity supplies to thousands of households.
UK Power Networks engineers have restored power to the majority of homes which lost power, but latest figures show there are approximately 48,000 properties in the East and 9,600 in the South East still without power.
Police call-outs in Dacorum due to the storm this morning included:
At 4.05am, police were called to reports of a large branch in the road covering one side in St Albans Road.
A large tree strewn over the road was also reported in St Albans Hill at 5.25am, and was removed by highways at 5.36am.
At 5.59am in Gaddesden Row, a large tree blocking the road was cleared by the highways team, allowing traffic to get past.
Berkhamsted retained fire crews attended a house in Hall Park Hill in the town which had been damaged by a fallen tree at 6.09am.
Fishery Road was also blocked by a fallen tree at 6.47am, and was not removed until 7.49am.
A tree down in Midland Road was moved within 17 minutes after first being reported at 7.11am.
Berkhamsted High Street also saw a fallen branch in the road at the junction with Stoney Close, while a tree also blocked Red Lion Lane in Briden’s Camp.
At Felden Lane in Hemel Hempstead a fallen tree causing cars to turn around was reported at 7.16am and was cleared at 7.48am.
Tower Hill in Chipperfield was also blocked by a tree between 7.24am and 7.42am.
A tree split down the middle in London Road, Apsley, was reported at 7.25am, and was referred to a tree surgeon who arrived at 9,10am. The road remains closed while the tree is taken down.
At Durrants Hill Road a fallen tree caused damage to a traffic light at 7.42am but the road was cleared by 9.07am.
At 8am, a fallen tree blocked a driveway in Belswains Lane causing the homeowner’s car to be trapped.
A willow tree which had fallen caused the entrance to Common Gardens in Potten End to become blocked at 8.10am.
Large branches overhanging on Bedmond Road also required attention from tree surgeons at 8.50am.
The winds, despite cutting electricity to thousands of homes, were not strong enough to affect the day-to-day running of Kings Langley’s wind turbine powered by renewable energy comapny RES. Spokesman Alison Jones said: “We can confirm that the higher winds from the ‘St Jude’s Day Storm’ have had no adverse effect on the wind turbine at our Beaufort Court headquarters in Kings Langley.
“The turbine operated as expected all day; and while it would automatically shut down as a safety precaution if wind speeds reached around 25 metres per second, we registered no higher than around 15.1 metres per second at this location.”
Do you have any storm damage pictures? Send in photos and details of any damage or delays you’ve experienced due to the storms by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.