Storm Lashes Dorset
3:30pm 28th October 2013
Road closures, dozens of felled trees, localised flooding and major traffic disruption, St Jude has left its mark on Dorset.
There was plenty of warning ahead of the Atlantic storm that hit overnight, with MET Office forecasters and the Environment Agency putting out warnings way before winds battered the south coast.
There have been no reports of any serious injuries in South Dorset.
Main roads and smaller village roads became blocked by falling trees and large branches. The Dorchester to Weymouth Relief Road was shut right up until lunchtime while council engineers tried to remove felled trees about 500 yards from the Avenue Stadium Roundabout.
The uprooted trees took soil and chalky rubble with them when they crashed to the road creating a double hazard for recovery crews to clear up. Branches and felled trees were chopped-up and reduced to sawdust at the side of the road.
Principal Council Engineer Mike Reed told Wessex FM they had to use a digger to remove extra soil and some loose trees to make sure the steep slope wouldn't crumble later on ;
"In the long term we'll have to assess the trees on the entire slope to make sure they're stable. We'll have a look at the long term stability of the chalk. In the short term no problems, in the long term we just have to check it out."
Felled trees disrupted bus services around the county with some roads blocked off. It was the trains and rail network that suffered most with South West Trains suspending all journeys until they could remove all debris from the tracks. A Guard at Dorchester South told us even the revised timetable wasn't going to plan;
"Even when engineers arrive with the crane to remove the tree westbound of the platform, we don't know when we'll be open because there are dozens of trees down right across the main network. The New Forest must be badly hit."
A group of Bournemouth University students travelling from Dorchester South said the delays meant they'd miss their assessed presentation;
"We're missing our presentations but our tutors have been really understanding and hopefully we can get them re-booked. It's better to be safe than sorry. The delays mean we can do some last minute cramming though."
Another couple, travelling to London, told us they booked their tickets ages a go; "We're off to visit our son. We were hoping to get the 10 train but it's been delayed again, so I guess it all depends what happens down the line. I'm not sure when we'll be able to get going. Maybe we'll go and have a coffee and see if we can get somewhere later on."
South West Trains took to Twitter to keep travellers updated on the situation. They warned people not to expect to travel today.
Speaking to Wessex FM Dorset Fire and Rescue said if there are a number of fallen trees we still might not know where they all are yet. We're not complacent and it's not over yet, but the worst of the weather has passed."