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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 21:31 GMT
Man killed as severe weather hits
Police handout picture of a lorry hit by a plank blown from a vehicle travelling along Spread Eagle Hill, in Dorset.
High winds have caused damage and chaos
One man has been killed and thousands of homes left without power as stormy weather battered parts of Britain.

The man died after a tree fell on his car near Taunton in Somerset.

A total of 80,000 homes across Wales were left without electricity and Western Power Distribution battled to reconnect damaged lines.

The company says 40,000 homes now have their power restored and engineers have been drafted in from England to help with the reconnection process.

BBC weather forecasters said the worst of the weather had eased in most parts of the UK by Thursday evening.

Earlier, a woman was believed to have gone overboard from a cargo vessel in gale force conditions seven miles south of Falmouth in Cornwall.

I was stupid enough to get my car stuck in flood water on the way to work this morning
Phil Lewin

Falmouth Coastguards were co-ordinating a search for a steward missing from the Russian bulk carrier Vera Maretskaya which raised the alarm at 1050GMT on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Police believe the man killed in the area died after a tree fell on a car as it drove through the village of Britty Common, near Wellington.

The Environment Agency has issued one severe flood warning and 46 flood warnings across England and Wales. Earlier there were 59 flood warnings.

The severe warning, issued on Thursday afternoon, was for the River Vyrnwy from Llansantffraid to Crew Green and the River Severn from Crew Green to Shrawardine.

In Scotland, four flood warnings have been put in place by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Heavy rains will return in northern England and Scotland overnight and could result in more flooding
Met Office spokesman

In Wales, a spokesman for Western Power Distribution said a tree which had blown into a cable in Crickhowell had left large parts of Powys without power.

He said "pockets" of customers were also affected by power cuts in Cardiff, Neath, Swansea and west Wales.

Elsewhere, Asda's supermarket in Llandudno, Conwy, also had part of its roof blown off and a man was treated in hospital after his car hit a fallen tree in west Wales.

By Thursday evening the weather had eased in most parts of the UK, as predicted by BBC weather forecaster John Hammond.

"At the peak, in most places the wind was between 55 to 65mph, but there were isolated gusts of 70mph, some reaching 75mph in Scotland," he said.

A car drives through water
The bad weather is set to continue for much of the day and overnight

Mr Hammond said the wind speed was not unusual for this time of year, but recent wet weather had been a "contributory factor" to the chaos as trees had fallen as their roots were more easily dislodged.

He added windy weather was expected to continue over the next few days.

The high winds and heavy rain have also caused chaos on Britain's roads.

In Shaftesbury, Dorset, a lorry driver was treated in hospital after a plank crashed through his windscreen after being blown off another vehicle.

I was stupid enough to get my car stuck in flood water on the way to work this morning
Phil Lewin, Loughborough

Cumbria police said two lorries had overturned on the northbound side of the A74 near the border, causing delays of between 40 minutes and one hour.

Rough conditions in the Channel resulted in the suspension of the P&O Ferries and SeaFrance services to Calais, Norfolkline to Dunkirk and Speedferries to Boulogne.

Floods and falling trees also affected train services between Shrewsbury and Machynlleth on the Welsh coast, as well as causing delays between Leeds and Manchester.

Trees fell on lines at Paddock Wood, near Tonbridge, in Kent, Redhill in Surrey, and Paignton in Devon, disrupting First Great Western trains to London Paddington.

Scenes of destruction caused by the weather across the UK

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