06:01 Saturday 26 October 2013

UK storms: Emergency services on alert as Cambridgeshire braces itself for worst weather in decades

Written byRAYMOND BROWN

Emergency services are on full alert as Cambridgeshire braces itself for one of the worst storms forecast to hit the region in decades.

On Friday the Met Office yesterday raised the warning stakes by putting the region on amber alert - up from yellow alert.

Forecasters have told families to “be prepared for the risk of falling trees as well as damage to buildings and other structures”.

The storm is currently brewing over the Atlantic and its full force could hit UK land tonight, into tomorrow.

Chief Cons Simon Parr has been in talks with fellow members of Cambs Reslience Forum which would deal with any impact of what could be the worst weather to hit Cambridgeshire since the Great Storm of 1987 - when the region was devastated.

The forum pulls together emergency services and councils to tackle potential disasters including extreme weather as winds of up to 80-90 miles and torrential downpours are set to batter the region tomorrow.

A police spokesman said: “In the event of high winds which are being forecast, we would urge anyone who must use the roads to drive to the conditions and at an appropriate speed.

“In the event of power cuts we would also urge people to be aware of elderly or vulnerable relatives and neighbours who may need help or support.”

And firefighters and the ambulance service are gearing up for an increase in crashes amid fears of flooding and the felling of trees.

Alan Brown, group commander at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “At the moment there is much uncertainty as to how Cambridgeshire will be affected by the predicted storm, but often during times of bad weather the fire service will see an increase in the number of road traffic collisions and flooding.”

The East of England Ambulance Service is urging drivers to take care.

A spokesman said: “It’s important that people drive safe all of the time, but in times of bad weather, we’d urge you to take extra care. Lengthen the distance you leave between yourself and the vehicle in front so that you have more time to stop if needs be, as stopping distances can more than double on wet roads. If you have to drive through flood water, go through the most shallow part and test your brakes afterwards.

“Ensure your lights are fully functional before heading out - this is especially important given that the clocks go back this weekend, so the evenings will be getting darker earlier.

For more on the storm, click here.

For a slideshow of the Great Storm of 1987, click here.

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