BREAKING NEWS: Storm St Jude continues to batter Eastbourne

A tree came down by the Archery Rec in Eastbourne on Monday.

A tree came down by the Archery Rec in Eastbourne on Monday.

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As strong winds and driving rains continue to batter Eastbourne and the south coast, emergency services and council workers are working round the clock to deal with call outs.

By 9am this morning highways crews had cleared 120 fallen trees including one in St Leonard’s Road which fell onto parked cars during the night.

Power failures have been reported in Hailsham and Upper Dicker and in Newhaven the sea search is continuing for a 14-year-old boy swept away by a freak wave on Sunday afternoon while he was playing on the beach.

An Eastbourne taxi driver had a lucky escape when his vehicle was hit by a falling tree in The Goffs at 1.15am. The man, who works for Call-A-Cab in Lismore Road, was unhurt.

Inspector Steve Grace at the road policing unit at Sussex Police has been monitoring the weather situation and roads across the county and said, “There have been two main problems - surface water and fallen trees.”

“The rain seems to be easing now, but there are large expanses of water on the roads and you just don’t always see them in the dark. Hit one even at moderate speed and you can find yourself completely out of control.

“Fallen trees have blocked roads all over Sussex and when one falls right in front of you, there’s no chance of avoiding it. If you have no choice but to drive then please do so with the utmost caution, but if you can stay at home until the worse of it blows through, then I’d recommend you do so.”

Highways crews in East Sussex have been working through the night to keep the roads clear after the county was battered with 80mph winds.

East Sussex Highways deployed 40 work gangs, including tree surgeons, to remove fallen trees, clear gullies and deal with localised flooding on the county’s roads.

Roger Williams, East Sussex County Council head of highways, said, “Our crews have been working around the clock to ensure we can keep disruption to a minimum, working closely with colleagues from other agencies.

“However, there remains a lot of debris and water on the roads so we’d urge motorists to drive with extreme caution if they’re out and about.

“Some of the fallen trees have become caught up in power lines, meaning the road takes longer to clear as we have to arrange for the electricity to be turned off, so we’d ask motorists to be patient while we continue our work.”

The latest updates on road closures across the county can be found on the East Sussex Highways Twitter feed @esccroads while updates on all services affected by the weather are available at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/alerts