Century-old beech tree in Hitchin destroyed by Storm Eunice

A 100-year-old Beech Tree blew over on Willian Road, Hitchin

This 100-year-old Beech Tree blew over on Willian Road, Hitchin - Credit: Chris Wilson

A 100-year-old beech tree has blown over in Hitchin.

The tree on Willian Road brought down telephone cables when it toppled over during Storm Eunice today (Friday, February 18).

Residents Eric and Chris Wilson caught the incident on camera, and said that they have never seen a storm which has caused destruction in Hitchin before.

The Met Office issued a red weather warning for Hertfordshire, amid fears that wind gusts of up to 90mph present a "danger to life".

A broken telegraph pole during Storm Eunice on Willian Road, Hitchin

Neighbours heard a large "crack" sound then a 100-year-old tree took down a telegraph pole - Credit: Chris Wilson

Eric said: "My daughter, who lives in Letchworth, phoned me and told me about the red weather warning.

"Our neighbour later told us that he had heard an almighty 'crack', so he rushed out to see what had happened, thinking it was something to do with his house.

"A very old tree had fallen over bringing the telephone cables with it."

Eric said that he and his wife Chris have stayed inside all day, and nobody is thought to have been hurt.

Eric said: "We formed a community on Willian Road during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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"Everybody has checked up on one another using their mobiles to make sure that all the neighbours are safe and have everything they need."

The progress of the storm

Authorities who look after roadside wires have urged residents to contact them if a problem arises.

A spokesperson for BT Openreach said: "Our engineers will be working to restore any affected phone and broadband services as quickly as possible.

"But the safety of our people and the general public will be our number one priority.

"There will be some impact on customer appointments - in red weather warning areas particularly - as it's not safe for our engineers to be travelling, so please bear with us."

BT Openreach said damaged poles or wires can be reported to them by phone on 0800 023 2023 (option 1).

A UK Power Networks spokesperson said: "Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can affect overhead power lines.

"Please stay well away from power lines and report any damaged power lines to us immediately."

UK Power Networks has a dedicated number for electricity problems - dial 105.

For the most up-to-date information about the county's roads, visit our LIVE Hertfordshire traffic map.   

Do you have a live or breaking news story from across Hertfordshire? Email: hertslivenews@archant.co.uk