PHOTO GALLERY: Cars smashed and roads blocked by worst storm in 25 years
Entire streets were blocked and cars flattened by uprooted trees across Hampstead and Highgate in one of the worst storms to hit Britain in more than 25 years.
Residents woke to scenes of destruction on Monday after gusts of up to 70mph ripped through the capital from 6am.
In less than two hours, 15 trees owned by Camden Council and many private trees were brought crashing to the ground in streets throughout the borough. There were also 10 reported incidents of damage to homes and buildings.
Camden police received a 20 per cent increase in calls from the public on Monday.
In Haringey, more than 70 trees were damaged or felled by powerful gusts, while Barnet Council responded to 130 incidents of storm damage.
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Remarkably, there were no casualties as a result of the storm in Camden or Barnet, but London Ambulance Service was called to two incidents in Tottenham.
Dubbed the St Jude’s Day storm after the patron saint of lost causes, it was a grim reminder of the devastating Great Storm of 1987 in which 90mph winds destroyed 1,000 trees in Camden alone.
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Cllr Jonny Bucknell, of Belsize ward, ventured out onto Primrose Hill on Monday morning, explaining: “I slept through the storm of ’87 and missed London blacking out.
“On Monday, I went onto Primrose Hill at 6.30am and thought ‘I’m not going to make the same mistake twice!’ I recorded a gust of 60mph and that was probably the gust that took all the trees down. But the ’87 storm was a lot worse.”
Alongside fellow councillor Claire-Louise Leyland, Cllr Bucknell later used a saw to help clear a pavement in Lancaster Grove, Belsize Park, after a fallen branch hit two cars and blocked the entire road.
Historic chapels at Hampstead Cemetery avoided any damage after large branches were blown off trees on the site in Fortune Green Road, Fortune Green.
Mother-of-two Lisa Gershon, 48, of Somali Road, Fortune Green, described her shock at witnessing the damage on Monday.
She said: “Trees should outlive all of us and there’s something wrong about seeing any trees falling down. When you see how strong a tree is and how it can be knocked over by the wind, it’s fairly sobering.”
In Highgate, a very large tree in Shepherd’s Hill was uprooted, blocking the whole road.
Similarly, a fallen tree outside Ashmount Primary School crushed a parked car and blocked Hornsey Lane.
Cllr Dean Cohen, Barnet’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Luckily we had advanced notice that the storm was on its way and we were able to make preparations for the predicted aftermath.”
Highgate Wood was closed to the public until Wednesday after 50 damaged trees were considered to be a danger.
Hampstead Garden Suburb also saw trees felled by the storm.