Storm’s trail of damage

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The damage caused at the Airport was described as ‘the worst in living memory’ by chief electronics engineer Jeremy Snowden.The Airport’s primary radar was knocked out of action as were both sections of the instrument landing systems and three holes were pierced in the northern edge of the airfield.Flying continued safely but as men worked to repair the damage yesterday afternoon, they had to withdraw because it was considered too dangerous to continue.Hundreds of homes lost television signals, phones and computers were hit by power surges, radio stations were silenced and property damaged.

There was a furze fire at Devil’s Hole yesterday thought to be caused by a lightning strike.The Met Office said that the length and severity of the storm was unusual.

The forecasting task was not helped by the absence of an important weather radar that has been out of action since last October.

The storm continued virtually unabated for some 20 hours and is believed to be the longest electrical storm for at least 11 years.Lightning pierced a hole in the roof of Hotel La Place above guest bedrooms in the early hours of Sunday – the bedrooms were not occupied.

Hotel manager Lee Gregson said that nearly all televisions were knocked out and three computers were also inoperable.A chimney stack knocked from the roof of a house in the Haute Croix area landed on a conservatory below – the owners are out of the Island.

A chimney pot was also knocked off a house in St Peter.The main damage at the Airport is expected to have a ‘significant cost’.In addition half of the runway lights were out of action, power surges caused X-ray machines to stop working and the baggage system broke down, said customer services director John Such.Hundreds of alarms around the Island were set off following lightning strikes.

Securicor said that ‘it was all hands on deck’ and staff were attending premises today to try to rectify problems.Jersey Telecom received a multitude of calls from people whose phones and computers were damaged by power surges.

However, the phone company say service was uninterrupted.

‘People should disconnect their phones and modems in such circumstances.

If people could check their equipment before calling today, it would be helpful,’ said a Telecom spokeswoman.Advocate Tony Olsen’s house in Trinity was struck by lightning in the early hours of Sunday morning.

‘Our hefty old weather-vane is not only in bits but has also been bent by the force of the blast.

There are bits of slates and pieces of masonry scattered as far as 50 feet away in the field to the north,’ said Advocate Olsen.

A Carey Olsen homeworking computer system was also obliterated.Audrey Le Bas returned to her Mercedes car parked at the Aero Club yesterday to find the aerial knocked off and the ground smoking.

A tyre was punctured on her car and on another parked next to it.

There was damage to the vehicle caused by lightning having ripped up the car park surface.The weather also meant the cancellation of two golfing events at La Moye and the Royal Jersey courses, including the Channel Islands championship.

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