SCAFFOLDING prevented a large tree from damaging a Dorchester residential building.
It was among scores of trees blown over across the county. Dorset Police said they dealt with 200 weather-related incidents – mainly trees down – between 7pm on Friday and 5.20am on Saturday.
The roof of Dorchester Sports centre was also damaged.
Residents in Cowley Close, Dorchester, heard an almighty bang after an uprooted tree fell onto the second and third floors of a block of flats.
Diana Windsor, 87, was inside the building as the incident took place.
She said: “I was at the kitchen sink. I nearly had a heart attack because it came right across here, right up to the windows.”
Dorset was battered by winds up to 80mph on Friday evening, which caused the tree to collapse just after 10pm.
Ms Windsor’s neighbour called for a fire engine but it wasn’t until past 1am a truck came along.
She said: “I wondered what else was going to happen because I could also hear the scaffolding breaking.
“I thought if that comes down there is going to be a lot more damage.”
Ms Windsor, who’s lived at the property for 30 years, said residents had previously asked for the trees to be cut back.
She said: “They said no, we must never touch them. They’ve got a preservation order on them.
“What happens? It blows down.”
The building’s management arranged for tree surgeons to visit the scene the following morning to remove the tree.
Mark Taylor, a tree surgeon at Heritage Coast Tree Services, said: “It just looks as though the ground gave way again and put too much pressure on the roots.
“This has happened quite a lot with the recent spate of storms we’ve been seeing. It’s just a case of too much water in the ground. There’s not enough stability.”
Mr Taylor added: “I would say there would be a lot of damage to the building if the scaffolding wasn’t there.
Scaffolding has been on the building since August, with work taking place on one of the building’s top floor flats.
Ms Windsor said: “It was a blessing that it was there because otherwise it would have gone through the windows.
“I’ve been itching to get that scaffolding down for weeks but not quite like that.”