The Met Office has upgraded its warnings of high winds and heavy rain affecting East Anglia on Thursday while drivers are warned Orwell Bridge may close.
The warning issued yesterday (Tuesday) has been revised to widen the amber “be prepared” warning from just the northern half of Norfolk to the whole of East Anglia, which had been covered by a lower priority yellow warning.
The period covered has also been extended by two hours to run from 6am to 8pm.
It says that there will be strong winds throughout the day but in the amber area there will be a ‘short period’ with gusts of 70 to 80mph.
The warning adds: “Whilst the strongest winds look to be only short-lived, damage to structures, interruptions to power supplies and widespread disruption to travel networks are likely, with a danger of injury from flying debris.
“Trees are also likely to be damaged or blown over. Those other areas can expect gusts of 50 to 60mph.”
The Met Office says heavy rain will also create additional hazards across the area.
Highways England has issued a Severe Weather Alert for high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and other vulnerable vehicles, whose drivers are advised to take extra care due to the increased risk of vehicles being blown over.
Highways England East has also warned that the Orwell Bridge on the A14 at Ipswich is likely to close depending on the severity of the weather and drivers should check for the latest information.
It says any decision about whether to close the bridge will be based on the safety of road users, taking into account the speed and direction of the wind. Live traffic information will be provided by Highways England via its website, Twitter and roadside electronic signs.
If the Orwell Bridge is closed, the planned diversion route will be signposted via the A1156, A1189 and A1214 through Ipswich. However, drivers will be asked to consider whether they need to travel around Ipswich during the closure as significant delays will be expected.
For the latest weather warnings visit www.metoffice.gov.uk
To check for flood warnings visit https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/map
Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on Highways England’s website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by calling 0300 123 5000.