Radio Sandwell Featured News

How to prepare for a storm

2013-10-27 22:42:03

Preparations are under way across England and Wales as weather forecasters predict one of the most powerful storms of recent years will hit. With heavy rain and winds of up to 80 mph (130 kph) expected - and rush-hour trains already cancelled - what is the advice for households, motorists and commuters?

Households:

Insurance companies are advising householders to take basic precautions such as moving rubbish bins, garden furniture and hanging baskets to ensure they do not cause damage to cars or property if blown over.

"Damage to garage and shed doors are common claims," says Claire Foster of insurer Direct Line.

"Keep these closed and locked. This will not only prevent the wind blowing them off the hinges, it is good practice to keep your property secure."

Householders are advised to make sure drains and gutters are clear of debris so rainfall can flow effectively and does not lead to flooding.

But Ms Foster adds: "If the wind does pick up, its important householders don't put their safety at risk. If the wind is too strong to get on a ladder and clear the guttering or fix a lose tile then it shouldn't be attempted."

In the event of serious damage, people are being urged to establish an evacuation plan for their families and make a list of useful phone numbers including the local council, emergency services and insurers.

The British Red Cross, which has teams ready to assist people, says households should be prepared for possible blackouts and make sure mobile phones are charged.

Simon Lewis, head of the organisation's emergency response, adds: "Make sure you have torches at hand, as well as a battery-powered or wind-up radio to keep up-to-date with weather warnings and information for your area."

Councils, meanwhile, say crews are being readied to deal with downed trees, traffic disruption and property damage and are preparing to provide emergency accommodation.

Some councils are distributing sandbags, which people can use to protect homes, shops and businesses against possible flooding.

Councils will be posting regular updates on their websites and social media so people can stay up-to-date on the situation in their area.

Public Transport:

South West Trains is telling passengers not to travel on Monday with most services not running until at least 08:00 GMT to allow maintenance teams to check the lines.

First Capital Connect is also advising people "not to travel". It says it is unlikely to run any trains until after 09:00 GMT on Monday, to ensure nothing is blocking the railway. After that, there will be "far fewer services and with extended journey times".

C2c is also advising people "not to attempt to travel" with services suspended until at least 09:00 GMT, and then "disruption, short notice alteration and running at reduced speed".

Greater Anglia trains has similarly suspended all services on Monday until 09:00 GMT. It says after that it will look to run a reduced service on all lines but it expects there to be significant disruption throughout the day.

Southeastern is also "unlikely" to start services before 09:00 GMT; while East Coast, First Great Western, and Southern also say they will or are likely to run amended timetables. Passengers are advised to allow extra journey time.

London Overground says there will be no service before 09:00 GMT on Monday.

Passengers are advised to check before travelling and log onto National Rail Enquiries to sign up for free Twitter alerts.

People travelling abroad are also urged to make sure plane services will be running and be prepared for possible delays and cancellations.

Motorists:

The Highways Agency says drivers should check weather forecast and road conditions, leave extra time if travel conditions are poor and be prepared to delay journeys if the weather becomes severe.

It says low speed limits or temporary closures may be imposed on exposed bridges and road closures due to falling debris. Accidents may also be more frequent.

Major road closures will be listed on the Highways Agency and Traffic Wales websites.

Motoring breakdown organisations the AA and RAC say they are boosting their emergency patrols but advise drivers should avoid unnecessary journeys.

The AA's Darron Burness says: "Although the predicted storm may pass through fairly quickly, the impact could last much longer, depending on the damage caused.

"Driving conditions are likely to be pretty hazardous with a risk of serious disruption, so heed any local police advice about whether it's safe to travel."

The AA is advising drivers to park their vehicles in a garage if possible. It suggests ensuring that items that could get blown over and cause damage are moved away from cars left parked outside.

Coasts and rivers:


People are being urged to take caution by the sea

The Coastguard and Environment Agency are urging people to take extra care.

"In some parts of the country, waves are expected to be as high as eight or nine metres," a Coastguard spokeswoman says.

"Combined with winds, conditions on the sea and along the coast, particularly on cliffs top, are likely to be extremely treacherous. Sending units to help people in these types of avoidable incidents will also put rescue teams at risk.

"HM Coastguard's advice is simple: Don't take risks. But if you do get into difficulty, or spot someone who might be in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Colin Williams, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's regional operations manager, said: "The forecasters have given us plenty of warning so hopefully people will be doing the sensible thing and staying away from the sea.

"I know many boat owners are busy making their vessels secure and ensuring they are in a safe harbour."

The Environment Agency is closely monitoring water levels and has issued some flood warnings and dozens of flood alerts.

It says: "Seafronts, quaysides and jetties should be avoided due to the risk of overtopping by waves and wind-blown shingle."

In some places, such as Portsmouth, seafront exclusion zones in place, with people warned to stay away.

Source: bbc.co.uk

Share this story

Related Stories

Up to the minute News feeds

Brexit: Top Labour figures give mixed messages on second EU referendum

10 women killed in Saudi airstrike targeting wedding procession in Yemen – report

What Does It Mean to Have OCD? These Are 5 Common Symptoms

Superb Destination at Navan

Stephen Hawking probe scans INSIDE of mysterious cigar-shaped 'space ship'

Does Pentagon still have a UFO program? The answer is a bit mysterious

Liam and Cheryl ‘planning mega Christmas celebration’

LISTEN: Sunday Supplement podcast

The Week in Review

Liam Allan: Falsely accused student supports anonymity for rape suspects

Image Slider