Two women die as storms ravage the country

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Two young women were killed after they were swept out to sea by 10ft waves at a north Wales resort yesterday. Their deaths came as terrible storms ravaged the country, causing flooding in parts of Britain.

Two young women were killed after they were swept out to sea by 10ft waves at a north Wales resort yesterday. Their deaths came as terrible storms ravaged the country, causing flooding in parts of Britain.

The women had been with a group of friends on the promenade at Colwyn Bay after a night out at a party when they ventured down a slipway, normally used to launch jetskis.

It is believed one of the women was swept away by a crashing wave, prompting her friend and two men they were with to jump into the water to try to rescue her. The men managed to struggle back, but both women were carried out by the breaking waves.

Last night, the victims were named as Michelle Hughes, 21, a mother-of-two, and 20-year-old Claire Jones.

Coastguards and police rushed to the scene after closed-circuit television cameras in the area spotted the women in the water at midnight, but it was three hours before an RAF helicopter pulled them from the water.

A police spokesman said the pair, from the nearby Llandudno Junction area, were still alive, and were rushed to the Glan Clywd Hospital near Abergele. But they died later.

Elsewhere, the weather has caused chaos. In Portsmouth yesterday, residents were tackling the aftermath of a flash flood that filled their homes with raw sewage. Areas of Southsea had been submerged by 5ft of water when more than two inches of rain - the average the whole of September - fell on Friday night.

The torrential rain swamped a pumping station, causing a total power failure that meant raw sewage escaped into the floodwaters from the city's drains. The Royal Navy, firefighters, police and volunteers all helped to pump contaminated water out of city streets, but yesterday some streets were still awash with sewage.

Coastguards kept lifeboats on standby in Southsea to help rescue people from the rising water: 50 were brought to safety in the early hours of yesterday morning. "It is devastating down here," said a spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue. "The sewage system hasn't been able to cope, manholes all over the city have been lifted and there is sewage floating into people's homes."

One casualty of the floods was the BUPA Great South Run planned for today, which was cancelled when organisers said they could not guarantee the safety of the 6,000 runners due to take part.

Race director Colin Goater said the combination of the floods, sewage and emergency vehicles meant police could not ensure the road closures which were needed for the race to be run safely.

In Kent, a house was badly damaged by fire after being struck by lightning. Twenty firefighters were needed to put out the blaze at the two-storey house in the village of Nonington.

There were also incidents of flooding reported in Kent and Sussex, with homes being evacuated.

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