Clear Up Underway After Storm
28 October 2013, 12:31
The clear-up is underway after this morning's storm across Herts, Beds, Bucks & Northants.
At least two people died in the stormy conditions.
One man in his 50's was killed when a tree fell on his car in Watford.
A 17 year old girl died when a tree hit her static caravan in Kent.
People hoping to get to work were the worst hit with tens of thousand left stranded when train companies suspended their services through the early morning rush.
Tens of thousands of homes have been left without power.
As we get the latest we'll update it below. Please make sure you hit refresh to get the latest.
14.20 First Capital Connect
Following last night's storms, we have had many trees on the track and damage to overhead power lines. Network Rail is working hard to repair the damage and carry out safety checks along the route. Some lines will remain closed for the rest of the day, including the route from London to Luton, and others remain severely disrupted.
We are still advising our passengers not to travel. Tickets for travel today will be valid tomorrow and passengers can also get a full refund from point of purchase.
We are able to run a very limited service between the following stations only:
• London St Pancras International - Brighton (calling at all stations) and return
• London Blackfriars - Mitcham Junction - Sutton - Wimbledon - London Blackfriars (calling at all stations) in one direction only
• Bedford - Luton (there is no onward transport between Luton and London)
• Cambridge - King's Lynn
We have redeployed headquarters staff to our stations to help passengers and we have ticket acceptance with London Buses and London Underground. We have emailed over 11,000 registered customers, updated all our station screens and website and we are broadcasting to 46,000 followers on Twitter.
If passengers do need to travel, they should check the latest situation on our website and consider using other modes of transport, although the road network is similarly disrupted. We are very sorry for the disruption caused.
12.50 - Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains now say they have a limited timetable now operating with many delays and cancellations. Tickets for today will be valid tomorrow.
12.15 UK Power Networks.
UK Power Networks engineers have restored power to 100,000 properties in the South East, and to 150,000 in the East today, after high winds caused extensive damage to power lines.
Latest figures show there are currently 30,000 properties in the South East and 150,000 in the East of England still without power and these figures are changing constantly.
UK Power Networks has five times the normal number of engineers on duty (750 compared to 150 on a usual day) and many extra call advisors answering the phones.
Engineers worked through the night and new crews are continuing today, moving from job to job to repair the damage and restore power as quickly as is safely possible. We are carrying out helicopter patrols to check overhead power lines.
Customer service staff and volunteers from the British Red Cross, which works in partnership with UK Power Networks, will also be on site helping people in the worst affected areas.
Since midnight, we have received about 38,000 calls so our lines are extremely busy. We ask customers to report any power cuts and damaged lines on free helplines: In the South East call 0800 783 8866 and in the East of England call 0800 783 8838.You can also see www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk and follow the company on twitter for updates. Anyone spotting a damaged power line is urged to report it, but please stay well clear.
UK Power Networks made careful and robust preparations for the stormy weather. Senior staff are in close contact with the Met Office. The electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can see wind-borne debris being blown onto our overhead power lines. We activated the early stages of our emergency plans on Friday and brought in additional staff covering engineering, technical and call centre roles.
The company also invests in the region of £14million a year to trim back trees from overhead power lines in the East of England and £7million in the South East. This tree trimming programme reduces power cuts caused by trees and branches blown into overhead lines during high winds.
In the event of a power cut you can:
· Call our free power cut helpline for your area or follow us on twitter
· Listen to your local radio station, or see our website and twitter, for updates on progress
· Keep a torch close to hand and if using candles, use them safely
· Stay warm by staying in one room, or even in bed
· Keep an eye on elderly or ill people living nearby
· Take care if you go out tonight as street lights may also be off supply
· Switch off most electrical equipment