Stormy weather keeps 999 crews busy in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 24 Dec 2013 at 5:53 pm

The stormy weather has been keeping the fire service busy in Brighton and Hove.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said today (Tuesday 24 December) that it was “continuing to deal with a high number of calls relating to the bad weather”.

It said: “The majority have been linked to flooding or unsafe structures.”

The fire service urged people to take extra care after it received about 230 weather-related calls across Brighton and Hove and the rest of East Sussex since yesterday afternoon (Monday 23 December).

About 120 incidents were attended by crews. Most of those were to make an area safe after the strong winds brought down trees, signs and roofs.

Among the incidents attended were the following

  • Crews were called out at 7.25pm yesterday to remove a flat roof in St Leonard’s Avenue, Hove, and make the area safe
  • They were called to remove an air conditioning unit which was hanging off the wall of a building in Brunswick Street, Hove, at about 10.40pm yesterday
  • They dealt with solar panels which fell from a roof in Dyke Road, Brighton, shortly before 4am today and made the area safe
  • They removed sections of a garage canopy at the Texaco in South Coast Road, Peacehaven, shortly after 6pm yesterday

The fire service said: “With the bad weather predicted to last for the rest of the day, ESFRS is urging people not to take risks, particularly when on the roads.”

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are due to go on strike from 7pm this evening until midnight in a dispute with the government over pensions.

Sussex Police urged people to stay alert to the dangers left in the wake of them storm and to be aware that yet another period of severe weather was expected.

More high winds and heavy rain have been forecast for late Boxing Day (Thursday 26 December) or early Friday (27 December).

And a similar spell is also expected next Monday (30 December).

Chief Inspector Natalie Moloney said: “While the wind has dropped and the rain is forecast to ease this afternoon, there are still problems around the county with flooded roads, fallen trees and power cables and dangerous seas.

“Drivers need to be aware of large expanses of surface water that can cause loss of control when hit at even moderate speeds.

“All road users, including pedestrians, should not attempt to enter flood water unless they are absolutely confident about how deep it is and that there are no hidden hazards such as potholes or a current caused by a stream or river that has broken its banks.

“If you do drive through water, test your brakes as soon as you are out of it.

“There have been a substantial number of trees brought down in the storm and, with softened ground and weakened roots, more are likely to come down over the next few days.

“Adjust your driving accordingly and don’t assume that the road is going to be clear just around the corner.

“Similarly, don’t assume that any cables lying in the road are just telephone wires.

“There are a lot of power lines down and you should not go anywhere near them – they could be lethal.

“The power of Mother Nature is probably at its most dramatic by the sea but, again, beaches can be very hazardous places as Sussex has learnt to its cost over the past couple of months with people being swept away at Brighton and Newhaven.

“There is an enormous amount of weight behind a crashing wave, extremely strong undertows and almost cliff faces of shingle within a few feet of the shore with sheer drops of several feet into deep water.

“If you’re going to the seaside this festive season, then enjoy the spectacle from a distance and make sure that your children and pets do as well.

“With trains, buses and flights disrupted, the traditional Christmas Eve rush is likely to extend well into the evening and the roads will be busy.

“Be prepared for delays, keep your concentration and make sure that your vehicle is fit for the journey.

“Top up the windscreen washer tank as there’s no end of muck about on the roads, check all of your lights are working and make sure that they are clean.

“Weather forecasters are warning that we could be seeing more rough weather arriving late on Boxing Day so be prepared for more of the same if you are travelling back after Christmas.

“Finally, even if you’re not travelling, be aware of vulnerable neighbours, friends and family, especially if there are power cuts in your area.

“All of the emergency services, local authorities and other agencies are working flat out to keep Sussex safe and running, but you can do your part to make sure that people around you are also able to enjoy a comfortable and relaxed festive season.”

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