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Friday, 1 February, 2002, 12:17 GMT
Weather claims two more victims
Tree on road
Two cars were hit by the falling tree
Two people died after a tree crashed across their car as weather forecasters predicted another round of heavy rain and gales across Britain this weekend.

The men, aged 60 and 75, were killed on Thursday after the tree came down on top of the Toyota car at Honley, near Huddersfield, west Yorkshire.

They were pronounced dead at the scene and three other people, who were travelling in a second car, were taken to hospital with slight injuries.

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said one of the Huddersfield-based authority's own forestry officers saw the tree fall and raised the alarm.

If the tides are high through to Monday, and we get strong south and south westerly winds, there could be problems on the southern coast

Environment Agency

The spokeswoman said: "I understand he was driving home from work and just happened to be going past when he saw it happen.

"He was able to call out his colleagues and get help immediately."

The spokeswoman said initial examinations of the scene showed the beech tree had been uprooted, rather than snapped, and this was thought to have been caused by "a combination of wind and wet weather".

She said the tree was privately owned and not on council land.

The deaths came as another weekend of weather misery was predicted across the UK.

Flooding alert

Eight people died in gales which swept across Scotland and northern England on Monday and early Tuesday.

The areas likely to be affected by more bad weather this weekend are in Northern Ireland, the north and west of England and southern Scotland.

Satillite image of British Isles
The UK is bracing itself for worse weather to come
Forecasters said there was unlikely to be a re-run of the 100mph gales which swept the country earlier in the week.

But the risk of more flooding remains high with heavy rain forecast into the weekend.

And it is the combination of the gales and sodden ground which has weather watchers worried.

David Braine, senior meteorologist at the BBC weather centre, said: "The strong winds will not be as strong as the early part of this week but the accumulation of downpours could cause flooding.

"It will be windy across the whole of the country but it is the north again which will bear the brunt."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has urged people north of the border to be prepared and imposed 10 flood watch alerts in areas such as Easter Ross, the Firth of Clyde coast and the rivers Tay, Earn and North Ask.

The Met Office said up to five inches (127mm) of rain was possible over high ground in the west and north.

The Environment Agency said strong southern winds and heavy rain could cause coastal flooding in the southern coasts of England.

Ferry stranded

A spokesman said: "If the tides are high through to Monday, and we get strong south and south westerly winds, there could be problems on the southern coast."

Flood alerts have been issued for the tidal River Severn at Gloucester and the areas stretching from Gains borough to West Stock with.

There are also 35 flood watches across the country, including six in Anglia, 15 in the southern area, eight in the south-west, five for the area covering the Thames and one in Wales.

Passengers were stranded for two hours on a ferry which ran aground in gale force winds on Friday.

The Dieppe to Newhaven, Sardinia Vira vessel was blown on to a sandbank as it approached Newhaven harbour, East Sussex, at 0830 GMT.

The 17 passengers and 55 crew were stuck on board as winds gusted up to 47 knots.

The ferry was refloated by rising tides.

The BBC's Nick Thatcher
"There is not much of the country that is going to escape a battering"
Richard Horrocks of the Environmental Agency
"People should take every precuation they can"
Dennis Kirby, Scotland Hydro-Electricity
"We have helicopters on standby"
See also:

29 Jan 02 | UK
Storm deaths reach eight
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