Suspected tornado hits Lowestoft

LOWESTOFT was battered by stormy weather this morning with at least one person injured when high winds sent a tree crashing down onto a car - trapping the occupant inside.

LOWESTOFT was battered by stormy weather this morning with at least one person injured when high winds sent a tree crashing down onto a car - trapping the occupant inside.

The freak accident happened in Lowestoft, which appears to have been particularly badly affected by the.

Some buildings in the town have been damaged, with the chimney of the Crown Hotel, in the High Street, collapsing and hanging precariously over the road, forcing police officers to close the road.

There are reports that a tornado caused the damage, although that is yet to be confirmed.

At about 11am this morning a car travelling on Denmark Road was hit by a large falling tree, leaving one person trapped by their injuries.

It is believed the casualty has sustained non-life threatening injuries, according to a spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Trust.

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Fire crews from Lowestoft South and Normanshurst were sent to the scene, about half-a-mile from the railway station, using cutting equipment to help release the trapped person.

The police spokeswoman said the road was 'completely blocked' after the tree fell 'right on the car.'

Officers are also at the Crown Hotel where the high winds, and a reported mini tornado, tore roof tiles and brickwork from the building,

The chimney stack has collapsed and is now hanging dangerously from the building's roof.

At another incident in Norwich Road in the town, the fire service received reports of a roof being blown off an industrial building. The police spokeswoman said when officers arrived at the scene they discovered a brick wall had collapsed.

A spokesman for Weatherquest said although they have received no reports of a tornado in the area, the weather patterns throughout the morning are such that a twister is possible.

He said: 'It is not unlikely for this kind of weather to result in a tornado at all. The clouds going through the area mean it is quite possible.'

East Anglian weather expert Ken Blowers said to expect a 'pretty grim weekend' with periods of heavy rain at times over the next couple of days due to a large depression across the British Isles, coming from the south west.

He said: 'Gale force winds will continue for much of today, followed by further spells of heavy rain or blustery showers.'

A spokesman for Essex Police said most of the county had escaped major problems in the storms, although there had been some serious damage to property in the south-east around the Castle Point area.

A spokeswoman said: "We have had some trees down but we do not have any road closures at the moment.

"There have been a number of minor road traffic collisions.

'We would remind drivers to take extra care, especially when there is standing water on the road.

"One of the key things is to slow down."

In some areas of the UK, the gales could be as strong as 75mph, making motorways hazardous for drivers.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has warned people to allow longer gaps between cars in the rain, drive slower, and watch for large patches of rainwater on the road.

A spokesman said: 'Not only are strong side winds and rain predicted, there will be the inevitable local flooding that follows from drains blocked by leaves. These conditions can challenge even experienced drivers.'