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Christmas gales 'more serious impact' than St Jude storm

Heavy rain and winds of around 70mph battered Hampshire on Monday night, bringing more Christmas travel disruption and 90,000 power cuts

Storm damage in Elston Road, Aldershot

Christmas travel will again be affected in the aftermath of a storm which hit the south east, bringing 70mph winds and downpours.

Heavy rainfall and strong winds battered north east Hampshire on Monday and power cuts were also reported.

Power was lost in Farnborough and rural areas around Aldershot and Scottish and Southern Energy said they were working to get the power back on as quickly as possible.

Engineers started work at 6am to assess damage and start repairs. Around 90,000 homes are without power in the Southern Electric area. Around 21,000 homes are affected around Aldershot - the worse hit area.

 

Trees fell on both railway lines and major and minor road routes while Rushmoor Borough Council was forced to remove the Christmas tree from North Town after it was blown over twice in the gale force winds.

Travel disruption continued on Christmas Eve with South West Trains only running services from 10am to allow for the removal of more than 40 trees and six areas of flooding. Reduced services are to run from 10am and customers are advised to check the latest service information and not to travel unless absolutely necessary.   

A spokesman for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: "Heavy rainfall and high winds have affected the rail network and roads in the region and had a serious impact on our services yesterday and this morning. Yesterday's weather had a higher impact on our network than the St Jude storm and produced some of the most challenging conditions our frontline teams have had to cope with in many years. 

"Once services resume, we are confident that we will still be able to get all of our passengers where they want to be on our network today so they can spend Christmas with family and friends."     

Bushes, trees and fencing were torn up off Elston Road in Aldershot, with a walkway being ripped open by roots of a falling tree.

Elston Road resident Jenny Stanton said: "The wind was battering at the windows last night, so I wasn't surprised to see the damage caused this morning. I hear much of Aldershot was without power last night, but luckily we were okay."

The amber weather warnings issued yesterday for the region have now been lifted although rain and strong winds are still expected today.

Southern Electric Power Distribution has put on extra call handlers to talk to people who lose their electric supply.

The company has also put up advice about what to do if people suffer power cuts, including boiling water for a thermos and having battery powered radios while people can also call 0800 294 3259.

 

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