Meteorologists have revealed a gust of wind measuring 67mph was recorded today, as the strongest gale to blow through Northampton in more than a decade caused traffic headaches.
Experts at Pitsford Hall Weather Station say the peak measurement represents is the strongest gusts to be recorded in Northampton since October 2002, when wind speeds were measured at 70mph.
Mike Lewis said: “These types of gusts are incredibly rare. Since we’ve been recording data here, in 1998, I can possibly count on one hand the number of times we have recorded gusts in excess of 65mph.
“So it is exceptional.”
He said wind speed increased throughout the day but says the worst of the gale is now over.
He added: “The wind speeds have been gradually increasing through the day. We saw that peak gust of 67mph and the wind speeds have fallen away since. We should see the wind gradually ease.”
The high winds have topples trees and caused traffic problems.
Traffic has been running slowly on the A43 near Sywell Range after a tree was blown over. The tree hit a blue Ford Focus, smashing the windscreen but appearing to leave the rest of the car undamaged.
Vehicles have been running slowly in both directions while the emergency services clear the road.
Other roads in the county which were affected by fallen trees included the A361 in Badby near the B4037 junction, the A508 Harborough Road, Boughton, between Brampton Lane and High Street, A5 Watling Street, Foster’s Booth, and Billing Lane, between Overstone and A5076 Talavera Way.
The A45 Nene Valley Way, Northampton, was partially blocked westbound because of a lamppost fallen down in the road.
Members of the public are being reminded that they should call Street Doctor to report those trees that have been brought down by the wind, rather than calling 999.
Experts say gales are rare in Northamptonshire as wind speeds are reduced by friction over land.
The prevailing wind in Northamptonshire is from the south west, although the highest gusts recorded at Pitsford are experienced when the wind is from the north east.
Police, meanwhile, have warned people to only ring 999 in the event of fallen trees if somebody is in danger.
Inspector Jon Lloyd from the Northamptonshire Police control room, said: “We have received calls about trees having been brought down by the wind from across the county, as has the Fire and Rescue Service.
“We are responding as quickly as we can, however, I must stress that unless someone is in danger, people should be calling Streetdoctor to report the problems.
“Please only call 999 if there is an immediate danger to the public; otherwise please dial 101 to call us.”
People can report issues to Streetdoctor via www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/streetdoctor or if it is an emergency they can call 0300 126 1000.