08:12 Friday 06 December 2013

Gone with the wind...

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

A CLEAN-UP operation is underway today after winds of up to 60mph caused chaos on the roads.

The region is recovering from yesterday’s freak weather conditions which brought dozens of trees crashing down, blocking roads and causing misery for drivers.

Police said they were inundated with calls for much of the day as fallen trees, lampposts and other debris disrupted major routes including the A38 and the A444 Burton Road, in Woodville.

Market traders in Burton town centre lost out on valuable Christmas trade after being forced to pack away by council bosses over safety fears.

They had resolutely set up as normal earlier in the day, keen not to lose custom at one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

Bosses at Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, also took the decision to close to the public while flights at East Midlands Airport were hampered.

Much of the country experienced strong winds yesterday as a low pressure system descended over Britain.

A fallen tree in Tutbury Road caused misery for rush-hour motorists in Burton yesterday morning which set the theme for the rest of the day.

The A444 Burton Road was blocked near its junction with Woodville Road, while debris also had to be cleared from the northbound carriageway of the A38, at Claymills.

A lamppost came down in Thorn Street, Woodville, a telegraph pole was uprooted close to the level crossing at Willington, while police were also alerted to power lines in the road in Egginton Road, Hilton.

Weather expert Richard Jeffries, from the Rosliston Weather Station, said: “The Midlands experienced winds of between 50 and 60mph, so there was pretty strong winds - enough to bring down trees as we have seen.”

Away from the roads, the weather brought disruption to rail passengers with East Midlands Trains services hit by delays.

The wind also disrupted flights at East Midlands Airport with an inbound flight from Paris having to be cancelled.

Despite valiant attempts from Burton’s market traders, they were advised to pack up for the day by East Staffordshire Borough Council.

A spokesman said: “Owing to the adverse weather conditions, a decision was taken to close the market.”

Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, was forced to close, with bosses concerned its many trees could pose a risk to the public.

There was also disappointment for visitors to Findern Garden Centre which had to deflate its 30ft inflatable Santa Claus.

The garden centre’s manager Darren Hancocks said: “It could have ended up on the A38 and that wouldn’t have been good.”

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