Many homes in Crewkerne experienced a power cut on Monday evening as gale force winds caused disruption to Western Power Distribution electricity services across the south west of England. The power outage in the TA18 area lasted approximately 30 minutes but left elderly people feeling vulnerable. Top tips issued by WPD in the event of a power cut, include keeping a torch handy, avoiding the use of candles and paraffin heaters, having a battery powered radio close at hand to listen to local radio news updates and a phone that doesn’t rely on an electricity supply such as a mobile phone.
Their advice to anyone who uses a mains operated stair lift is to check if there is a manual release handle that can be used to return the stair lift safely to ground level, if the electricity supply stops working. There is also a Priority Services Register that the elderly, disabled and those who rely on electricity for medical equipment can register with on the WPD’s website, enabling vulnerable customers to receive priority assistance through the British Red Cross if and when required.
Monday evening’s power cut was linked to the tail end of hurricane Ophelia which was responsible for the unusual weather phenomenon of a sepia coloured sky and red tinged sun, seen earlier on the same day. The Met Office confirmed that this was caused by smoke from wildfires in Spain and Portugal and by dust blown across from the Sahara desert. Several motorists in the Crewkerne area reported that the windscreens of their parked vehicles were covered in a fine yellowy coloured dust, like fine sand, which had to be cleared before it was safe to drive their vehicles.