Britain battered as 100mph winds bring trees down on roads and railway lines

Storms leave two dead and wreak havoc across country – with similar forecast for tonight

Two people were killed in fierce storms that battered Britain yesterday, with heavy rain and winds gusting over 100mph as millions of people returned to work after the Christmas and new year holidays.

Similarly foul weather will continue today, the Met Office said, but will be less severe than yesterday's conditions, which forced the Port of Dover to close and damaged the roof of a stand at Epsom Downs racecourse.

A man, in his fifties, died in Royal Tunbridge Wells after his van was hit by an oak tree, and a crewman died after being injured on board a tanker in the English Channel. Paul Harragan, who lives near to the scene of the accident which killed the unnamed van driver in Kent, said the tree had "completely crushed" the vehicle.

A second man, who did not wish to be named, said he had been travelling towards North Farm Industrial Estate when he was forced to make a diversion. A Kent Police spokesman said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death of the man in the English Channel was caused by a large wave which hit a tanker 13 miles off the coast on the border of Devon and Cornwall.

A Royal Navy helicopter based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall airlifted the man, who was unconscious, to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where he later died.

A lorry driver was rescued by fire crews after becoming trapped under the cab of his HGV in Dorset. He had been thrown from the lorry when it was blown over by strong winds on the A37, near to the A356 Dorchester Road junction.

Winds of 106mph were recorded in the north Pennines and of 105mph in Northern Ireland. There were also 102mph winds in Edinburgh and 84mph gusts in Dorset.

Around the country trees fell on to railway tracks and power lines and local authorities issued flood warnings after rivers swelled.

Forecasters said they expected those winds to die down today, saying they would reach up to 60mph in parts of Wales, north-western parts of Northern Ireland and in northern Scotland. A yellow weather warning advising people to be aware of the risk of "localised flooding" in Wales was in place last night.

Yesterday, P&O Ferries reported that its Dover-Dunkirk services were suffering delays of up to 60 minutes, and the company suspended its Larne-Cairnryan crossings. Ferry travel to the Isle of Wight was also affected, with Redjet, some Red Funnel, Hovertravel and some Wightlink services suspended because of rough conditions.

Train services between London and Scotland were suspended at Newcastle upon Tyne, while buses replaced trains on some rail services between London and Harrogate and Hull. Drivers planning to use the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex were advised of possible delays due to gale-force winds.

Gale force: The worst-hit areas

High winds caused havoc across the country with 106mph gusts recorded at Great Dun Fell in the north Pennines in East Cumbria; gusts of 102 mph in the Scottish capital; and gusts of 97mph to the west, in North Lanarkshire.

The Port of Dover was forced to close between 10.30am and 1.20pm because of rough seas. Ferries to the Isle of Wight were also suspended due to the bad conditions.

Parts of Wales and England saw 5mm to 6mm of rain in an hour and a further 6mm was expected today.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?