Storm Eunice: Hotel evacuation and sandstorms hit South Essex

A HOTEL lost part of its roof, dozens of trees were uprooted and giant waves hit southern Essex – when Storm Eunice hit the county.

Guests at the Travelodge, Festival Leisure Park, Basildon was in the building when part of the roof was lifted off.

The business was quickly evacuated after the roof became wide open.

A long piece of roofing was removed on Friday with bits of material waving in the high winds.

A female lecturer in sport, health and exercise science said: ‘We were on the top floor when the roof came off.

“I took a day off to see family in Essex and the roof of the hotel blew out.

Echo:

“The hotel was evacuated, so we had to take shelter, play pool and drink beer.”

Wind speeds of 90mph were recorded by the pier and foreshore team and 95 at Southend Airport.

The council’s parks team dealt with over 80 fallen trees.

Echo:

Goalkeeper Aaron Chesham snapped the huge tree covering the playing equipment at Bournes Green Park in Southchurch.

He also said bars in the town center had been told to close as it was a huge risk with revelers going out with weather warnings in place.

Martin Richardson, 56, owner of Happidrome Arcade, Marine Parade, Southend said: ‘The sea was very angry and I was shocked to see families with young children on the beach.

“We had to recover portable toilets. Many businesses did the right thing and remained closed.

Echo:

“We released the messages early because it is also about the safety of our customers and our staff.

“Workers should walk or commute to work. Most people stayed away.

“You have been shot down with sand blowing off the beach in strong winds.”

He criticized people taking young children to the seaside and on the beach in poor conditions.

Echo: Credit Stephen Jordan.Credit Stephen Jordan.

Trains were also badly hit, with c2c announcing that due to bad weather all lines were closed.

Rail services running across the entire c2c network have been canceled or suspended.

Martin Terry, independent public protection adviser, said: ‘There was incredible wind and it was almost like sandstorms in the desert on Friday.

“I saw people struggling to walk against the wind and we had quite a bit of scaffolding down the main street.

“It’s been difficult and people have to be careful.”

A taxi owner in Southend is now one of many counting the cost of Storm Eunice.

A tree fell behind the vehicle on Ilfracombe Avenue in Southend.

Experts from the Essex Weather Center warned of a “slight chance” of a “sharp jet” which caused the “catastrophic damage in 1987”.

Essex County Council has closed all of its recycling centers due to the ongoing storm.

A spokesperson said: “Due to safety concerns related to Storm Eunice and the extended red weather warning for Essex, we have made the decision to close recycling centers today.

“Updates will be released when the situation becomes clearer.”

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