Residents in West Norfolk still without power after Storm Doris causes ‘extensive damage’ to network

Fallen tree at Benns Lane, Terrington St Clement. Photo: Anne Waddelow.
Fallen tree at Benns Lane, Terrington St Clement. Photo: Anne Waddelow.

Storm Doris caused chaos yesterday (Thursday, February 23) as it ripped through West Norfolk and much of the country.

And although the wind has subsided, some residents in the area are still without power today, after the storm caused disruption to the network.

Lorry blown over on the A47.

Lorry blown over on the A47.

Numerous properties in Terrington St Clement were kept in the dark for 24 hours, and power outages were also recorded in Hilgay, Roydon and Watlington, as well as other places.

Chris Lewis, of Bridge Road in Downham, is still without power this afternoon, which he said caused problems for himself and his partner who both work from home, and meant they had lost a day’s work.

He said: “They put out leaflets not long ago with a number to call if you get a power outage, but I got nothing but an automated response from the number and their website crashed.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that it’s not back on. This was forecast a week in advance – it isn’t like it’s come out of nowhere.”

Overturned bus in Walton Highway. Photo: Pete Dawson.

Overturned bus in Walton Highway. Photo: Pete Dawson.

Mr Lewis said that while he understood that a lot of incidents had happened at once, he believed the infrastructure should be in place to deal with this.

“They are calling it unprecedented demand, but it’s not unprecedented. It isn’t like we don’t have storms in February.”

A statement on the UK Power Networks website said: “Storm Doris caused extensive damage to our electricity network. Our engineers are working hard to restore power supplies. We are hoping to get power back on to all customers by the end of the day.

“The equivalent of nearly four weeks’ work was undertaken in just one day, after severe storms and high winds all through Thursday caused power cuts to peak at around 6pm.

Overturned bus in Walton Highway. Photo: Pete Dawson.

Overturned bus in Walton Highway. Photo: Pete Dawson.

“Specialist teams worked yesterday and into today and made significant progress in restoring supplies and we hope to get power back to the remaining 8,200 properties, mainly in Norfolk and Suffolk, by the end of today. Please continue to keep clear of any damaged power lines.”

With more than 500 incidents reported in Norfolk alone, from fallen trees to overturned vehicles, and dangerous structures to downed power cables, emergency services experienced one of their busiest days so far this year yesterday.

Temporary Chief Inspector of Norfolk Constabulary Mike Austin, who managed the control room for the day, said: “Whilst we saw demand for our services almost double in the wake of Storm Doris, we managed to keep on top of the calls coming into us.

“In conjunction with our partners, we initiated well made plans to deal with issues as they happened.”

The force received more than 2,500 calls, which it said caused a significant strain on resources across the county, but through a process of prioritising and redirecting calls, officers were able to attend every relevant emergency.

Mr Austin thanked members of the public for taking “sensible” precautions and recognising that the storm could cause a potential threat.

“Fortunately, no one was seriously injured as a result of the storm and the demands for our services and our partners were met,” he added.

Figures showed that highway officers attended more than 235 incidents of fallen trees in the county and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service received more than 145 wind-related calls.

The storm saw a bus blown over in Walton Highway leaving 11 people hurt, a lorry overturned on the A47, and numerous trees downed by the high winds in Terrington St Clement, Lynn, South Runcton, West Winch and Burnham Overy Staithe, among others.

In Lynn town centre, the Mart was closed on Thursday evening due to the strong winds.

Chief steward Donald Gray said the weather conditions meant it was unsafe for the fair to operate.

It is expected to open again as usual today and tomorrow (Friday, 24 and Saturday, 25) – its final two days in the town.