Storm Doris: Woman killed in Wolverhampton city centre as gale-force winds rock UK

'Weather bomb' uproots trees, grounds planes and forces closure of Port of Liverpool

Jon Sharman
Thursday 23 February 2017 13:53
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Storm Doris: Woman killed by a piece of roof in Wolverhampton

A woman has been killed by a piece of debris blown into the street as a storm battered the UK with winds of up to 94mph.

Storm Doris – described by meteorologists as a "weather bomb" – uprooted trees, grounded planes, caused chaos on the roads and forced the closure of the Port of Liverpool.

Temperatures are set to plummet as the storm leaves an icy trail in its wake, but winds will drop as it moves out to the North Sea, said the Met Office.

The unnamed victim was killed when an object said to be the "size of a coffee table" was blown into the street in Wolverhampton city centre.

Passer-by Rebecca Davis, 40, a teacher from the city, saw medics trying to save the woman's life.

She said the victim, who looked to be aged "between 20 and 30", appeared to have been hit by something looking like a piece of roof which had fallen off a building nearby.

"I think the wind broke it and caused it to fall. I don't know if it was hit by something else or just the wind did it," she said.

She added that while the woman had been hit "right outside Starbucks", it was unclear if the debris had fallen from the coffee shop or from a nearby building.

The scene of the tragedy in Wolverhampton (Express & Star/YouTube)

"I don't think anyone else was hurt. It was a big piece about the size of a coffee table but I think it just hit her," she said.

Starbucks said in statement: "We are shocked and saddened by this terrible incident.

"We are supporting the police with their investigation and our store will remain closed until further notice."

The Met Office said a top wind speed of 94mph was recorded in Capel Curig, North Wales, on Thursday morning.

The storm is set to leave frost and wintry showers and a plunge in temperatures of 7C, reaching around 3C in the south and dropping to freezing in some cities overnight.

Warnings of strong winds and heavy rain in North Wales, the Midlands, the East and the North West have also now been extended to include the London area.

There were reports of trees felled by the winds across the country, with one trapping a man in a van on the A374 in Cornwall, and others collapsing on to houses in London and Wigan.

As Doris hit, Peel Ports in Liverpool announced the city's port had been closed due to "100mph gusts of wind".

The company said: "All operations are stood down for the safety of our employees, contractors and customers of the port."

Network Rail said the violent weather had caused "significant disruption throughout the country", with an enforced speed limit on some lines.

With fallen trees, objects caught in overhead wires, heavy rain, flooding and debris on the tracks causing delays across many services, a spokesman said employees are "doing all we can to keep the network running".

Flights were also affected, with a Heathrow spokesman warning of a "10 per cent reduction" in the airport's schedule.

A number of roads were closed including the M6 Thelwall Viaduct in both directions between junction 20 and 21 in the North West and the QE2 Bridge in Dartford, Kent.

In Scotland snowfall saw the M80 closed in both directions, as well as schools shut and some ferry services cancelled.

Up to 15cm (6 inches) of snow was expected to fall across parts of Scotland and north-east England, bringing treacherous, blizzard-like conditions.

And in Ireland almost 46,000 households woke up to no electricity after violent gusts battered large swathes of the country throughout the night.

Press Association contributed to this report

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