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One dead, thousands stranded as storm Katie hits UK


A car in Tonbridge, Kent was destroyed when a tree trunk crashed down   PHOTO: YAHOO

A car in Tonbridge, Kent was destroyed when a tree trunk crashed down PHOTO: YAHOO

It was disaster yesterday as Storm Katie ripped across the United Kingdom.One man was reported dead, hundreds of thousands more faced Bank Holiday travel mayhem, and tens of thousands were without power after the storm unleashed hurricane-force gales and torrential downpours.

According to a report by Yahoo, those travelling back from Easter Bank Holiday breaks faced strong winds, flooded and gridlocked roads. Motorists were forced to find new routes home as the Dartford Crossing in Kent and the Severn Bridge in Wales, were closed overnight because of strong winds.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed a fatality as a car crashed into the River Don after plunging from the A1M near junction 36 and 37. The man is believed to have died after his car crashed through safety barriers and plunged 70ft into the river below.

The M6 northbound between junctions 13 and 14 was closed due to parts of a whole lane flooding while water rescue teams were sent to Liskeard, east Cornwall, and a man had to be rescued from his van stuck in floodwater at Dunkeswell, east Devon.

Travel by air, sea and rail was also affected by the brutal storm. The Port of Dover in Kent was shut from 8 am until just before 11am today with P&O Ferries later tweeting that customers should expect delays and packed ferries for its Calais service.

Several train routes also saw cancellations yesterday due to flooding and fallen trees on the line, including between Portsmouth and Southsea, Yeovil and Exeter and between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst.

A string of delays were expected on several other lines.All high speed Condor Ferries between Poole and Guernsey, and cancelled on safety grounds.The Sandbanks Ferry between Studland and Poole in Dorset was also suspended.

Meanwhile, thousands of air passengers faced traumatic experiences in the early hours of the day as aircraft battled the strong winds.

Heathrow faced more than 60 delays, and about 40 flights due to land at Gatwick’s north terminal yesterday morning were affected by the gale force weather. The planes had all been due to land at the West Sussex airport after midnight, but by 5am 16 flights had been cancelled and 24 diverted to other destinations because of the stormy weather.

Some had made aborted attempts to land at the airport, before being diverted to airports in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands.Those flying were urged to check with their airline before travelling.One Twitter user wrote: “Truly thankful to be on the ground in Stansted after terrifying failed attempts to land at Gatwick in #StormKatie.”
Another added: “Almost blown over whilst trying to cross the bridge. And I am not of insignificant stature.”

Gatwick airport tweeted: “Due to Storm Katie, there is some road disruption around Gatwick. Please leave some extra time to get to the airport if flying this morning.
“Adverse weather has led to a small no of flight cancellations this morning. Please check with your airline for the latest info.”

Winds were so fierce an industrial crane bent in half in Greenwich, London. The road was closed and a nearby building was evacuated while emergency services dealt with the situation. Nobody was injured.

In Croydon, one man found scaffolding from a house extension blown on to nearby cars, while several homeowners had snapped photos of their damaged roofs and fences.

Residents at a block of flats in Wimbledon, West London, woke up yesterday to find the roof had been ripped off entirely by the hurricane winds.
The incident was one of at least 110 the London Fire Brigade was called to yesterday morning due to high winds. They rushed to the scene just after 6 am and were still there more than three hours later.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “We are dealing with multiple incidents due to the weather.“We advise people to take care when travelling and to bring inside any loose items in their garden – such as furniture or anything else that could blow away.”

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for strong winds across the region, warning of severe gales powerful enough to topple trees and damage buildings.

When travellers finally made it home, they would be faced with more chaos as thousands of homes were without power and 23 flood warnings were in place.

UK Power Networks said they were dealing with a high number of faults across Sussex, Surrey and Kent.Some 900 engineers from Southern Electric were working to reconnect more than 3,800 properties without supplies,.

The firm said it had restored power to 40,300 homes since Sunday night, while a further 41,889 homes across Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, West Sussex, Wiltshire and the Isle of Wight remained without electricity.

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