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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 10:47 GMT
Gales clean-up begins
A1 trunk road south of Morpeth
Strong winds knocked over lorries
The clear-up operation is under way after severe gales left seven people dead in one of the worst storms in a decade to hit northern England and Scotland.

Engineers are trying to restore electricity to more than 5,000 homes after gusts up to 120mph damaged power lines in Scotland.

At the worst point, 90,000 homes were without electricity.

Wind speeds need to drop so that we can get engineers up to get the wires back up

Denis Kerby
Scottish Hydro Electricity
Continued strong winds have hampered efforts to locate broken cables by helicopter.

Denis Kerby, from Scottish Hydro Electricity, said the wind made the repair work very difficult.

"We're monitoring the forecasts very carefully.

"We need some decent weather really and the wind speeds need to drop so that we can get engineers up to get the wires back up".

HAVE YOUR SAY More than 6,000 homes and business in Northern Ireland were also left without electricity as 98mph winds affected supplies. Power has now been restored to all but 300 homes.

Power cuts blamed on the atrocious conditions also hit around 20,000 homes in the Tyne Valley, close to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Lorries overturned

High winds have brought travel chaos with roads and bridges closed and many rail services suspended.

Four people died in the north of England and three in Scotland, where many rail services were cancelled due to the high winds.

Five deaths were a result of lorries overturning in separate incidents.

Jane Margaret Collins, 47, of Laceby, north-east Lincolnshire, died in an accident on the A1M in county Durham.

Durham Police said Mrs Collins, who was a passenger in a lorry driven by her husband, died at the scene.

Her husband was taken to hospital with a fractured neck.

One man died and a woman was seriously injured when a tree fell as they walked in the grounds of a hotel in Dunkeld, Perthshire.

Elsewhere a woman, in her 40s, died after a piece of masonry fell from a church in the High Ousegate area of York.

Road re-opened

By Tuesday morning roads began to be reopened and train services were returning to normal.

ScotRail suspended almost all services in Scotland after a train from Inverness to London, with 120 people on board, was hit by a tree on Monday in Perthshire.

The driver was slightly injured.

The remains of the 60ft poplar tree, front left
This house was hit by a storm-damaged tree
GNER suspended services north of Newcastle and ScotRail suspended electric services and put a 50mph limit on diesel services.

In Scotland, the Environment Agency has 11 flood warnings in place - mostly in Inverness-shire and Perth and Kinross.

Water levels are expected to rise in the Spey, Tay and Earn rivers and their tributaries following heavy rain and melting snow in the upper hills.

In England, 11 warnings are in force.

The Wye, Severn and Trent rivers, in the Midlands, and the Great Ouse, in East Anglia, are at risk.

In Wales, flood warnings are in place for the River Wye at Monmouth and the Lower Dee Valley.

Ground crews at Newcastle Airport were forced to shackle light aircraft in a sheltered area after strong winds threatened to blow a plane away.

Elsewhere, police closed part of the M6 between junctions 39 and 40.

Have you had any encounters with the horrendous weather conditions currently sweeping the country? If so, please send us your experiences using the form below.

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The BBC's Andrew Cassell and John Thorne
"Scotland and NE England were battered by the worst storms for 20 years"
The BBC's John Morrison in Perth
"The engineers are facing horrendous problems"
Central Scotland Chief Inspector Stuart Marshall
"The only problem now is the wet weather"
See also:

29 Jan 02 | Scotland
Clear-up starts after storms
28 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Power restored to majority of NI homes
28 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Storms cause power cuts
26 Jan 02 | England
Tornado rips into houses
21 Jan 02 | England
Sea sighting as crewman lost
08 Jan 02 | Business
Goldilocks weather cheers baker
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