Engineers work through the night restoring power to Northamptonshire after freakish winds rip through county

Emergency services answer 400 calls following 70mph gusts

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 1st November 2021, 8:55 am
Forecasters @NNweather spotted the windy weather heading our way on Sunday morning
Forecasters @NNweather spotted the windy weather heading our way on Sunday morning

Engineers worked through the night to restore power to thousands of homes in Northampton after freakish winds ripped through the county on Sunday (October 31).

Electricity network operator Western Power Distribution said all properties had supply restored by 6am on Monday in the wake of damage caused by what many described as a "mini Tornado."

Northamptonshire Police confirmed all major roads have been cleared but some minor routes are still blocked by fallen trees.

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A spokesman for Northamptonshire Highways said today: "We had an incredibly busy Sunday due to the weather. We continue to attend reports of fallen trees and will get to them as quickly as we can."

Rail passengers heading to and from London from Northampton have also been warned of delays and cancellations as a hangover from disruption caused by overhead line damage on Sunday.

Emergency services dealt with around 400 calls after mid-morning gusts of up to 70mph blew through from Brackley to Corby.

The A14 was blocked westbound near Kettering for around four hours while a fallen tree was cleared from the carriageway.

This was the scene in Billing Brook Road on Sunday morning

There have been no reports of injuries as a result of flying debris or falling trees and masonry.

Weather watchers have doubts that the freakish weather will go down in the books as a tornado.

Local forecaster Jamie Dunlop of @NNweather said: "A small area of low pressure developed and moved northeast over the county around 10.10am, causing a sudden increase in winds for a short spell of time.

"The word ‘tornado’ has been mentioned several times but from most evidence it appears as though the damage was caused by what may well have been ‘straight line winds’."

A fallen tree closed the A14 westbound for around four hours

Sunday's weather caught many experts by surprise with no Met Office weather warnings issued for the area and forecasts predicting gusts of up to 30mph.

Paul Knightley, head of TORRO — the UK's Tornado and Storm Research Organisation — said: “There has been quite a bit of wind damage today in a swathe from Central Southern England through the Midlands to Lincolnshire, associated with a tight swirl on radar — a mesolow.

“Much of this damage is likely to be from straight-line winds from the intense pressure gradient of the low/mixing down from higher up.

“There may have been some brief embedded tornadoes but It will likely be hard to pick these out from the broader damage.”

Network Rail worked overnight to repair overhead power lines on both main line rail routes through Northamptonshire.

National Rail is warning of the possibility of early-morning problems on London Northwestern services from Northampton as trains are not in the correct locations.

East Midlands Railway — which runs services from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough — said last night it expects to run a normal service on Monday.