Britain battered by storms, one dead

3rd January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Fierce winter storms battered Britain on Tuesday, leaving one man dead and disrupting traffic at Scottish airports and the English Channel port of Dover.

A van driver in his 50s died after his stationary vehicle was crushed by a falling oak tree in Tunbridge Wells, a town southeast of London, police said. A male passenger escaped unharmed.

A bus driver in Surrey, southeast England, was seriously injured when a tree also fell onto his vehicle.

Flights from Scotland's biggest airport, Glasgow, were heavily disrupted and train operators were forced to run a reduced service between London and Scottish cities as parts of Scotland were whipped by winds of more than 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour).

Police in the Glasgow area warned drivers returning to work after the New Year break to avoid going out on the road after several trucks overturned.

The busy port of Dover meanwhile closed for several hours because high winds made it too dangerous for ferries to sail to Calais in northern France, port authorities said.

The renowned Epsom racecourse, home of the English Derby, also in Surrey, was evacuated after part of the grandstand roof blew off, although there were no spectators there at the time.

A key road bridge between Essex and Kent in southern England was closed because of high winds and parts of Wales also saw gusts of more than 90 mph in the early hours.

The Met Office said "wet and very windy weather" would affect Britain throughout Tuesday as a spell of unseasonably mild weather over the Christmas period gave way to the far harsher winter conditions.

© 2012 AFP

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