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Saturday, January 3, 1998 Published at 20:03 GMT


Storms black out homes
image: [ Winds of 80mph whip up the seas on the Avon coastline ]
Winds of 80mph whip up the seas on the Avon coastline

Britain has been lashed by storms that brought death and chaos in their wake - and weather forecasters warn that more is on its way.

Gale force winds gusting up to 80mph and torrential rain swept in from the Atlantic, uprooting trees, damaging buildings and flooding roads.

Thousands of homes in Scotland and Ireland lost power as electricity pylons were felled by trees.

In other areas, heavy rain and winds also made roads treacherous. Motoring organisations are urging drivers to stay at home.

In the Atlantic, searchers gave up hope of finding a Spanish seaman lost overboard from the trawler Chirleu 120 miles off the west coast of Ireland. And in Aberdeenshire a motor-cyclist was killed at the height of the early morning storm when his machine hit wet road and collided with another vehicle.

Ferries cancelled in Scotland

In Scotland, almost all west coast ferry services were cancelled.

Services between Scotland and Ireland were also cancelled and all operators urged travellers to contact them for information before leaving.

[ image: Most ferries in Scotland were cancelled]
Most ferries in Scotland were cancelled
Many roads were closed. Both the Forth and Tay Road Bridges were closed to high-sided and light vehicles as driving conditions became hazardous.

Electricity workers struggled to restore power as falling trees caused power cuts, mainly in the Argyll Peninsula, Shetland, Aberdeenshire and Inverness-shire.

In Dumbarton, shops had to close early as the High Street became flooded. Many roads were blocked and motorists were urged to avoid the A714 at Girvan, where the sea was hurling boulders on to the road.

Roads closed in Wales

Storms lashing Wales brought road closures, flooded properties and damaged buildings.

Part of the A470 trunk road had to be closed near Pontypridd. Four feet of floodwater blocked the road between Llanfyllin and Llanfechain in North Powys.

Other roads had to be closed in the Narberth area in West Wales. Firefighters were called to pump out flooded properties at Llanidloes in Powys and to make safe several buildings damaged by high winds sweeping across Pembrokeshire.

In Cardiff, an 83-year-old woman was taken to hospital with head injuries after she was hit by a large flower stall parasol that had been lifted up by strong winds.

Flood warnings in the south

In Devon and Cornwall, there were flood alerts on 32 rivers after nearly two inches of overnight rain in some areas.

The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for the whole of the Sussex coast.

Flood warnings issued on Friday for the Rivers Ouse and Rother in East Sussex remain in force.

The agency is also fighting to restore the beach on the Selsey Peninsula near Chichester, where high winds and heavy rain swept away 12,000 tonnes of shingle in 48 hours.

At Gillingham in Kent, emergency services freed a couple who were trapped when a tree fell onto the house they had just moved into.

[ image: Britsol's Christmas lights posed a threat to pedestrians]
Britsol's Christmas lights posed a threat to pedestrians
Part of Bristol city centre was closed to traffic and pedestrians because of concerns about overhead gantries carrying Christmas lights.

High winds tore away protective metal fencing and blew it across four lanes of traffic. Police Sgt John Cooke said drivers had a miraculous escape. "How people were not injured or cars not damaged I do not know," he said.

The M48 Old Severn Bridge route remained closed to all traffic because of violent gusts sweeping down the Bristol Channel.

A 50mph speed limit was imposed on M4 drivers using the Second Severn Crossing.

The Met Office said more storms would hit southern England on Sunday.

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03 Jan 98 | World
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Environment Agency for England and Wales

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