Vigil held for Newhaven victim of St Jude’s Day Storm as power networks struggle to recover
Storm continues to claim lives as it makes its way across the rest of Europe
Paul Gallagher is a reporter for the Independent and Independent on Sunday having joined the group in 2012. He has previously worked for the European Voice, Daily Mirror and the Observer and been based in Brussels, Belfast, Tokyo and London.
Tuesday 29 October 2013
Tributes have been paid to the victims who died during St Jude’s storm which battered the south of Britain on Sunday night and Monday morning.
The mother of a teenager killed when a tree toppled onto her caravan as she slept spoke of her sense of loss. Tess Peirce said her family was “absolutely devastated” at the death of 17-year-old Bethany Freeman. The talented sportswoman, nicknamed Gia, was crushed when a 30ft (9 metre) tree fell down during the storm on to one of the two caravans in which the family were living at Hever, near Edenbridge, Kent, while their property was being renovated.
Ms Peirce, a special needs teacher at a local school, said: “We are all absolutely devastated at the loss of my daughter. I would like to thank the emergency services for their tremendous efforts in attempting to save her.” Bethany was a “universally respected” sixth-form pupil at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School who “had everything to look forward to”, the school’s website said.
Bethany was among four people killed during the storm that battered England and Wales.
Father-of-three Donal Drohan, 51, originally from Waterford in Ireland, died when his car was hit by a tree near the bridge over the River Colne in Watford, Hertfordshire. He has been described as a “loving father”.
In Hounslow, west London, three houses were destroyed and two others were damaged by an explosion, thought to have been caused by a ruptured gas main. Suhail Akhtar, 46, and his girlfriend Dorota Kolasinska, 34, were found dead at one of the properties.
Friends and colleagues paid tribute to the couple. Ms Kolsinska, who had been working for Hackney Council for nine months as a traffic light sequencer, was described as “extremely popular and hard-working”. Friends of Mr Akhtar, who had worked as an IT contractor for services firm Atos, said they were devastated by the news.
'Kind friend': 14-year-old Dylan Alkins was swept out to sea
Friends of Dylan Alkins, the 14-year-old boy feared dead after being swept out to sea during the St Jude’s storm, held an emotional vigil to their “kind friend” today at the beach where he was last seen alive. Up to 50 young people gathered at West Beach in Newhaven, East Sussex two days after he vanished while playing in the surf. Balloons with messages on them were released into the sky and flowers were thrown into the sea.
Hayden Hennessy, 14, showed off a bracelet which Dylan had given him as a gift. He said: “He gave me this bracelet and I only have this to remember him by. It makes me sad in a way. It just breaks my heart. I’m missing him.”
St Jude took the lives of Bethany Freeman and Donal Drohan
Nearly 60,000 houses were still without electricity this afternoon, more than 36 hours after the first outages. Residents and business owners were facing the possibility of a second night in the dark as engineers said they were unable to give an estimate for when they would be reconnected.
A spokesman from UK Powers Network said there was five times the normal number of engineers working to reinstate power. He said safety was their main consideration.
The storm has reached Scandinavia as the UK returned to the relative calm of lighter winds and rain, but dozens of areas in southern England remain on flood alert, the Environment Agency said.
Emergency services work at the scene of a fallen tree at Bath Road in Hounslow (Reuters)
Insurers are counting the cost of the storm but say it is too early to tell whether it will compare with the multibillion-pound hits caused by previous severe weather events. Initial estimates of the level of financial damage wrought are not expected until later this week, the Association of British Insurers said. John Lee, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, said it was the most powerful storm in years and warned of another miserable day on Friday. He said: “There is an indication that stormy weather could return, but it’s likely to bring heavy rain rather than strong winds.”
Early warning: How the Met saw it coming
A combination of “the best forecasters in the world” and technological advancements including a £30m supercomputer allowed the Met Office to accurately predict the St Jude’s storm four days before it formed.
A spokeswoman from the Met Office likened the scientists engaged in mathematical modelling – staff in IT, technology, quality control data, observatories and the forecasters themselves – to a football team. “How many players does it need to take to score a goal?” said Laura Young. “It takes our whole team to come up with the predictions based on a combination of people and systems.
“Our supercomputer helps to do that with millions of calculations to try and figure out what the weather is going to be like. There have been a lot of developments over the last 30 years and weather forecasting is an evolving science. Today, our four-day forecasts are as accurate as our one-day forecasts were 30 years ago. That’s how far we have advanced.”
With the help of the IBM supercomputer, capable of 100 trillion calculations a second from sources around the world – from satellites to buoys at sea – the Met Office now count themselves among the best forecasters in the world.
Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right
South Korea ferry: Four dead and almost 300 missing as mass rescue gets underway
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp standing with 'hand on the door handle' when she was shot dead
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of the spectacular 'blood moon'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for auction...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 3 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Scientists warn we've hit 'peak beard': The more people grow facial hair, the less attractive it is
£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...
£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...
£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...
£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...