East of England homes hit by power cuts

Fallen tree in Wivenhoe Road, Colchester
Image caption Many trees have fallen in the east of England overnight

Heavy rain and strong winds have caused major power cuts, road closures and public transport disruption across the east of England.

UK Power Networks said high winds had blown debris and trees on to overhead power lines overnight, causing extensive damage.

More than 11,000 homes across the night had suffered a power cut overnight.

But by 18:00 GMT power had been restored to all but 3,178 homes, said UK Power Networks.

Greater Anglia has run a limited service, with delays and cancellations.

Power lines damaged

First Capital Connect started running services, but with continued disruption. There were also weather-related changes to London Midland and C2C services.

East Coast said it was running a normal timetable, but flooding at Potters Bar in Hertfordshire was causing delays of up to 15 minutes between Stevenage and Kings Cross.

Network Rail also confirmed land slips had halted services between Watford and St Albans in Hertfordshire.

Damage to overhead power lines has also forced cancellations on the line from Clacton to Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex.

Image caption Essex Fire Service said no-one had been injured by falling trees

The 3,178 households still without power as of 18:00 GMT were in the following counties:

  • Bedfordshire: 91
  • Essex: 929
  • Hertfordshire: 396
  • Norfolk: 1,460
  • Suffolk: 302

UK Power Networks said it had been difficult to enlist extra help as other electricity firms could not spare staff and some of its own staff were away for Christmas.

In Suffolk, police said they received 150 calls overnight to "many, many dozens of trees fallen on roads".

County highways engineers had cleared more than 150 of the county's roads of debris and fallen trees, following Monday night's storm, the council said.

Flood warnings

Essex Fire and Rescue Service and Norfolk Police said they took dozens of calls overnight to reports of flooding and trees brought down in the wind. There have been no reports of injuries.

The Environment Agency has issued the following flood warnings:

  • In Essex, for the River Crouch from Noak Bridge to Runwell, including Wickford, riverside properties in Chelmsford
  • In Cambridgeshire, at Bury Brook from Kings Ripton to Ramsey
  • In Northamptonshire, at East Brackley from Mill Lane, Boundary Road and Shires Road, and the River Nene at the Cogenhoe Mill Caravan site
  • In Buckinghamshire, at the River Great Ouse in Buckingham.

In Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, the Met Office has predicted scattered squally showers for Christmas Eve, which could become heavier later in the day.

Showers are expected to die out overnight, with sunny spells forecast on Christmas Day.

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