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Town misses worst of the St Jude storm
ST JUDE left Swindon relatively unscathed after Met Office warnings put the town on alert for what may have been the worst storm since 1987.
Strong winds and lashing rain battered the south west in the early hours, bringing down trees and slowing the morning commute with cancelled or delayed services and closed roads.
Wiltshire Police received 90 calls by 8.30am, 75 of which were regarding trees coming down in high winds.
At 6.20am, on Oxford Road, a Honda Jazz and Audi A3 collided after a tree fell between the two vehicles, blocking the road.
Reports of falling trees also came through from Lawn Woods, Mead Way, Liddington Hill, Shaftesbury Avenue, and the A3102 at Spittleborough.
An accident involving two lorries closed two lanes of the M4 eastbound between J16 A3102/B4005 (Swindon West) and J15 A346 Marlborough Road/A419 Marlborough Road (Swindon East).
The crash occurred at 5.50am when the two lorries, one carrying empty pallets, and the other carrying yoghurt, collided. One lorry jack-knifed onto the hard shoulder, and the other blocked a single lane. One of the drivers was taken to hospital, while around 100 litres of diesel was spilt on to the road from a leak in a fuel tank.
Two lanes managed to remain open, and the Environment Agency remained until 1.30pm when all three lanes were reopened.
At 11.55pm on Sunday, a fire crew was called to a property on County Road, where the house with a partially constructed roof sprang a leak. A fire crew from Swindon attended and diverted the leak.
The strongest gusts overnight were recorded in Lyneham at 6am, where wind speeds hit 75mph.
Bernard Simmonds, of Greenfields Estate, said: “I was a bit concerned with all the warnings last night.
“There is not a lot you can do about it, you have just got to hope and pray you are going to be all right.
“But when we woke up this morning there were only a few branches blown over.”
Raymond Cole, 81, of Lyneham, was up in the early hours clearing debris from his driveway after trees were torn apart by buffeting winds.
“My driveway was completely blocked. It is lucky none fell into the road,” he said.
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