Britain battered by storms, two dead

3rd January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Fierce winter storms battered Britain on Tuesday, leaving two men dead and causing widespread chaos for air, sea and rail travellers.

Winds of more than 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour) swept in, closing the English Channel port of Dover for several hours and causing major disruption to train services across Britain and flights at Scottish airports.

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 second man died after a chemical tanker was hit by a large wave in the Channel amid stormy conditions, coastguards said. A Navy helicopter evacuated the man, who was unconscious, from the vessel, but he died later in hospital.

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

Some of the worst weather was in Scotland, where at least 35 flights were cancelled at Glasgow airport and 40 at Edinburgh airport.

In Dunoon in western Scotland, five people were injured when high winds overturned caravans, while 15 people were rescued from a boat that was blown away as it was being repaired in a west coast shipyard.

Many train services that normally take passengers from England to Scotland were forced to halt their journeys in northern England due to the high winds, while bridges across Scotland were forced to close.

In Northern Ireland, 10,000 properties were left without electricity after fallen trees and severe winds damaged power lines.

© 2012 AFP

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