Big clear-up begins after storm hits
THE clean-up has begun across South Somerset and North Dorset after the St Jude storm left a trail of damage across the region.
Trees were uprooted, tiles blown off roofs and fences blown over in the overnight storms – which were thought to have brought gusts of wind of up to 80mph on Monday morning.
Horsington resident Stephen Miles said that he and his wife had been woken in the middle of the night by the sound of a weeping willow in their garden smashing into his parked car outside.
He said: "My wife looked out of the window and wondered why all she could see was leaves. We went outside and found the car underneath the tree.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
"It looks as though if it hadn't landed on the car it might have hit the house, so we had a lucky escape.
"We didn't think to put the car across the other side of the road with my wife's car, maybe if we had the house might have been damaged.
"Before the storm we had been planning to attach a swing for the grandchildren to the bough that actually hit the car."
Mr Miles added that a tree surgeon had removed the willow by Monday afternoon. "You wouldn't know that a tree had come down there," he said. "Some poor unfortunate people did lose their lives in the storm elsehwere in the country, but thankfully in this instance, life wasn't at risk."
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service was called to reports of a damaged chimney stack on Ancastle Terrace in Ansford on Sunday evening, before attending two dangerous trees in Henstridge in the early hours of the morning.
In Gillingham the town was on red alert with a contingency plan ready to swing into action.
Town council resilience officer Michael Lodge said: "Having seen the weather forecast, plans were already afoot to make sure that if a disaster hit Gillingham we would be in a reasonable position to assist the emergency services."
The town's schools and RiversMeet Leisure Centre were primed to open their doors to take in any residents whose homes suffered sever damage from the storm.
"We were pretty lucky in the end that only a minor amount of houses suffered damage along with some trees and fences coming down," said Mr Lodge. "All the same even this can be very stressful. The town council workforce was on standby through the night and got straight in to help remove rubbish and bits of trees, doing a fine job of checking all the land owned by the council to make sure it was safe."