After days of bleak warnings from the Met Office, clearly determined to exorcise the ghosts of 1987, all of London was braced for a big storm in the early hours of Monday.
The night before was very quiet
Weather in West Hampstead currently eerily calm; if only there was a handy saying to describe such circumstances…
— James Coatsworth (@j_coatsworth) October 27, 2013
Like many people I woke up to strong wind and some lashing rain around 5am. I was up before 7 (stupid early morning conference calls), and although it was definitely very windy out there was no sign of the sort of debris on the street that would have followed the 80mph winds of the forecast.
As locals prepared for a commute already hindered thanks to both London Overground and First Capital Connect preemptively cancelling all services, the first reports began to trickle in of trees down and minor damage. Overall, it seems that we escaped relatively lightly – Belsize Park, Primrose Hill, and Swiss Cottage all seemed to be worse off than West Hampstead.
That’s not to say that the storm of St Jude passed without any incident:
One thing was clear – this was no weather for an untethered gazebo (‘cos we’re all leaving them lying around).
Although the tube lines had started off running a full service, the heaviest winds came after the first trains. One by one, almost every line fell victim to obstructions on the tracks on their outer reaches.
|Piccadilly Line via TfL|
|Tree on First Capital Connect power line, via @FirstCC|
Trees were falling closer to home too. On the Lymington estate, Blake Connolly got lucky when this tree fell away from his flat rather than towards it. Amazingly, it didn’t do any major damage to the other building.
|via Blake Connolly|
It turned out to be a good thing tree surgeons were on standby, as this casualty on Loveridge Road would find out.
There were no reports on the contentious trees on the Ballymore building site at West Hampstead Square. Conspiracy theorists would have been all over any sudden “blown over” trees!
Camden must have done a good job on Sunday to try and hoover up all the rubbish that has been strewn over the area in recent weeks. I only saw one photo of litter debris tossed around by the wind – and to be honest, given recent events, the wind could have been an innocent party here.
|via Eugene Regis|
The only business on West End Lane that took a beating was the Bridge Cafe. Plenty of you spotted and snapped the collapsed sign.
|via Adam Phillips|
|via Meg Hart|
|via Eugene Regis|
Fortune Green was the worst hit area of West Hampstead. Susan Smith almost got hit by a falling branch as she stopped to capture the fallen foliage by Alfred Court.
|via Susan Smith|
|via Craig Blackhurst|
Further down Fortune Green Road a tree had fallen into the road.
|via Emma-Jane Tritton|
Local councillor Keith Moffitt went to investigate and was promptly caught in a hailstorm.
|via Keith Moffitt|
The cemetery, at the top of Fortune Green Road, has been closed all day after falling trees blocked the entrance.
|via James Taylor|
At the opposite end of West Hampstead, Abbey Road was partially blocked by another downed tree.
|via Anne Moutadjer|
|via Deborah Blausten|
It wasn’t just roads that were affected of coure. The Black Path required some negotiation.
|via Penny Liechti|
By this stage, later risers were wondering what the fuss was all about with blue skies overhead. Twitter split into the “OMG a tree is down” camp, and the “This storm is rubbish” camp. The latter group perhaps not realising that a more dramatic storm would probably mean more damage not just to trees and walls and cars, but to people and their homes.
Kilburn didn’t escape unscathed of course. This tree came down in Birchington Road.
|via Simon Ashman|
There was a limbo exercise on Langtry Road
And Aldi on the Kilburn High Road needs to reasssess how it fixes its signage.
|via Kilburn Herald|
Two of the most impressive felled trees in the area were over in NW3
By the end of the day, most of the damage had been assessed and it didn’t seem too horrendous.
Neighbour’s fence has been blown down. *awaits tweet from neighbour saying my fence has blown down*
— Andy P (@andypeters10) October 28, 2013
There’s still no Overground or Thameslink as of Monday night. But, the good people of West Hampstead will soldier on – whatever tragedies befall them:
Some 12 hours after the sun rose over a windswept whamp, we were treated to a much calmer but no less dramatic sunset.
|via James Taylor|