UK weather: Two dead and several injured as latest storm continues to batter Britain
Extreme conditions expected to settle down next week
Saturday 15 February 2014
Two people have died and several more have been injured as gales, huge waves and torrential rain continue to batter the country.
A cruise ship passenger died after a freak wave whipped up by 80mph winds smashed through a window and a woman was killed when part of a building crushed her car as it collapsed in central London on Friday evening.
An estimated 11,000 homes are still without electricity in the south east and 9,000 more in the east of England after gales toppled trees onto power lines.
There is also major disruption across road and rail networks, with uprooted trees and debris blocking roads and tracks, forcing many services to be cancelled.
A giant sinkhole opened up in a residential street in Hemel Hempstead on Saturday morning, which could have been caused by rainwater washing away soil underneath the tarmac.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said 17 homes were evacuated for safety while they inspected the chasm "approximately 35ft wide and 20ft deep" in Oatridge Gardens.
Coastal communities are bearing the brunt of the latest Atlantic storm, which is sending monster waves crashing over sea defences.
More than 30 people enjoying a romantic Valentine’s Day meal had to be rescued by emergency services and the army from a seafront restaurant in Milford on Sea, Hampshire, after wind-blown shingle shattered windows and the sea flooded in.
Some 21 severe flood warnings are in place, issued along the coast from Cornwall to Hampshire, Gloucester and the Thames Valley, where rivers remain at their highest levels for decades.
Residents have been battling to stem rising floodwaters with sandbags and makeshift barriers to protect their homes and businesses.
On Friday, the Duke of Cambridge and his brother Prince Harry joined in the emergency relief as they helped fill sandbags for defences in Datchet, Berkshire.
Forecasters are warning of more heavy rainfall and gale-force winds on Saturday.
Southern England will see downpours of between 10mm-20mm while the south sest and south Wales could see up to 40mm, according to the Met Office.
The Marco Polo cruise ship
Waves of up to 10m have reportedly threatened to cut off Portland in Dorset, while people in Portsmouth have been receiving hoax calls calling for them to evacuate their homes amid flooding fears, Hampshire police said.
Trees are reported to have fallen on trains near Mottingham in south-east London, and near Winterslow in Wiltshire, but no one was injured.
All train services west of Plymouth have been cancelled, while a landslide near Redhill has hit the line south of the capital.
South West Trains has cancelled almost all of its services until it is safe for them to run and First Great Western is advising passengers not to travel, and has speed restrictions of 50mph across most of its network.
Rubble surrounds a damaged car after parts of a building collapsed onto the vehicle, killing a woman in central London, Britain, early 15 February 2014.
Weather warnings are in place for most parts of the UK until Saturday evening but forecasters expect conditions to calm down into next week.
Nicola Maxey, a spokesman for the Met Office, said it will be back to “normal British winter weather”.
“We will still be seeing rain and unsettled weather but not the extremes we have had for the last few weeks,” she added.
Additional reporting by Press Association
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