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St Jude was here

07.11.2013
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My piece on winter warnings last week came ahead of the expected energy rises. Little did I know that a heavy storm was to blow itself across the country. During the early hours of the morning, 6.30am to be exact my window began to rattle as ferocious winds whistled outside.

I was oblivious to this, with the exception of a few social network updates filling my news feed on Facebook the night before.

Following the news Monday morning I was shocked to see that a teenage boy had been swept to sea on Sunday night and weather warnings were continuously updating.

Trains cancelled, trees fallen, buildings damaged and if we can help it to stay at home. I haven’t experienced such severe weather before, apart from the ‘heavy’ snowfall Britain has seen for the last couple of years so one must admit it was quite frightening.

Walking downstairs through the hallway into the kitchen where our back garden looks in from the patio doors, a tree swayed uncontrollably, the flowers were battling as rain began pelting down on the glass.

After an hour or so it slowly began to calm, by this time I was dressed and ready to brave the outside and journey to the other side of London for volunteering. Three layers, scarf round neck accompanied with my furry ear muff and boots, it was obvious the seasonal weather had more than arrived.

My journey to the station was quick, only a short walk away. A notice stuck on the entrance doors read ‘No trains until 10.00 due to high winds’, it was only 8.30am..and I certainly wasn’t waiting that long.

Commuters slowly began to fill the station and as rush hour continued, another notice was put up this time to say ‘No trains until 14.00 due to high winds’

What a nightmare, not only was a natural disaster striking Britain- but it was taking its toll on the people living there too. Public transport came to a halt, work places work evacuated and tragically lives were lost in the morning of a storm that we were all shocked by.

I re-routed my journey, jumped on a bus to the nearest tube station and prepared myself for the crowds. It took longer than usual, although I got into the office earlier than one assumed.

Even the office was pretty empty, many were forced to work from home or turn back halfway through their journey after realising they wouldn’t make it in. Several trees fell down, a 50-year-old man was killed after a tree fell and caused an explosion close to where he was driving. A teenage girl was also killed after a tree collapsed onto the caravan she had been sleeping in, in Kent, England.

Thousands of homes across the country were left without power, after winds affected electricity cables and cut off energy supplies.

What a horrific Monday morning it was for Britain, the evening didn’t get any better as another two people were announced dead and Liverpool street station filled with commuters looking at a board of trains simply saying – CANCELLED beside the times. Britain experienced one of its worst storms since 1987, only this times gales hit up to 90 mph at St Jude blew itself into our territories.

So at such desperate and unexpected times how should we prepare?

According to one many websites it says:

Advance planning is important for everyone and can help you cope a little easier.

Have an emergency kit always available. The kit should include:

  • a flashlight with spare batteries
  • chemical light sticks
  • a battery-operated radio and clock
  • first-aid kit
  • canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated food
  • a manual can opener
  • bottled water
  • blankets
  • baby supplies
  • important phone numbers
  • cash (ATMs may not be operating)
  • and other specialty items, such as prescription medication

If you or a family member depend on life support medical equipment, make sure you have an emergency battery back-up system.

Stay abreast of the current weather conditions, and know what the various weather advisories mean and when you should begin your storm preparations.

Keep a standard phone handy and learn to open your garage door manually. Many cordless phones and automatic garage door openers only work with electricity.

If you have a laptop or cell phone, keep them fully charged so you will have alternate ways to communicate.

Let this be the last of such a storm we have to prepare for, for as many decades as possible.

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