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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 21:42 GMT
Nine dead as UK struck by storms
A fallen tree (photo: BBC News website reader David Fergus)
Falling trees in high winds posed a hazard (Photo: David Fergus)
Nine people have died, travel has been severely disrupted and thousands of homes have been left without power as gales and heavy downpours hit the UK.

A two-year-old boy died when a wall fell on him in Kentish Town, London.

Two other people died in Cheshire, two in Greater Manchester, one in North Yorkshire, one in Berkshire, one in Shropshire and one in Humberside.

Gusts of up to 99mph have seen flights cancelled, rail speed restrictions enforced and sections of motorway shut.

The managing director of Birmingham Airport, Richard Heard, 49, died after a branch fell on his car between Bridgnorth and Broseley, Shropshire, and a male passenger in a Ford Fiesta was killed when a tree fell on the car in Streatley, Berkshire.

A two-year-old boy was killed when a wall fell on him, London
An airport chief died after a branch fell on his car, Shrops
A man died when a tree fell on his car, Streatley, Berks
A lorry driver was killed when his vehicle overturned, N Yorks
A man died when a lorry blew into his car, Chester
A woman was crushed to death by a falling wall, Stockport
A man was killed when he was blown into a metal shutter, Manchester
A man died when he was hit by a tree, Cheshire
An elderly man was killed when a shed collapsed, Humberside

A lorry driver died when his vehicle left the road and overturned in high winds on the A629 Skipton western bypass, in North Yorkshire.

Another lorry driver, from Germany, was killed when his vehicle overturned on the A55 on the outskirts of Chester, Cheshire.

In Stockport, Greater Manchester, a woman in her 60s was crushed to death when a wall toppled onto her in high winds.

A man also died after being blown into a metal shutter at an industrial estate in the Strangeways area of Manchester.

And Cheshire Constabulary said a 60-year-old man was pronounced dead at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, after he was struck by a tree.

He had been working at a site in Byley, Middlewich, when the accident took place.

We can see parked cars moving in the wind and lamp posts swaying
Myra Davis, Swansea

Meanwhile, an elderly man died as a result of injuries sustained when a shed collapsed on him in Humberside, despite the efforts of firefighters from Crowle and Scunthorpe.

While England experienced high winds, Scotland saw its first major snowfalls of 2007, bringing road and rail disruption.

Thousands of homes across the UK were left without power when the storms were at their peak.

Earlier in the day, some 100,000 people were affected by power cuts in Godalming, Surrey, while tens of thousands were left without electricity across the north east of England, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

People in parts of Lancashire and the south Lake District also lost power, as did thousands in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cheshire and Wales.

Other weather-related problems across the country include:

  • Lord's Cricket Ground in London was left strewn with debris after winds damaged its roof

  • In Kent, Dover port closed for a period
  • Strong winds brought down part of a roof onto a busy shopping street in Hereford city centre
  • Storms at Blackpool
    Heavy rain and gusts have swept across much of the UK

  • Twenty-six mariners were rescued from a damaged British container ship in the English Channel, 50 miles (80km) off the Lizard in Cornwall
  • There were 192 flights cancelled at Heathrow, 39 cancellations across Scotland, five at Southampton and two at Stansted. Cardiff also saw flights cancelled. More than 80 flights at Manchester were cancelled. Flights from Liverpool John Lennon Airport were suspended for a time.
  • On the roads, the Highways Agency said both the M48 Severn Bridge and the Dartford crossing were closed because of high winds.

    The M25 junctions 29 to 30 were closed in both directions as were the M1 junctions 30 to 31, M11 junctions 6 to 10 and M18 junctions 4 to 7.

    Network Rail said 50mph speed restrictions were in place across the whole of England and Wales in an attempt to reduce damage to overhead power cables.

    London Bridge station closed for the day after glass panels fell onto the concourse.

    Virgin Trains cancelled all services on its West Coast route between London and Scotland, and First Great Western was forced to run a shuttle service between Paddington and Reading.

    Falkirk (photo: Wendy Ross)
    Scotland has seen its first major snowfalls of the year

    Forecasters said wind speeds reached 99mph at the Needles, Isle of Wight, 84mph in Crosby - near Liverpool - and 82mph in Rhyl, Wales.

    Meanwhile, there were gusts of up to 78mph at Heathrow.

    BBC weather forecaster Daniel Corbett said the winds had now moved into the North Sea and "we can see the light at the end of the tunnel" as far as the bad weather is concerned.

    However, he warned that cold weather in Scotland and north-east England could create icy stretches of road in those areas, making driving hazardous on Friday morning.

    Friday is expected to be calmer but the country could be facing a cold snap next week.

    Despite an unusually mild start to January, forecasters have warned that temperatures are likely to plummet beyond the weekend.

    Violent storms hit Britain

    Crew rescued from stricken ship
    18 Jan 07 |  Cornwall
    Severe gales lead to power cuts
    18 Jan 07 |  Northern Ireland
    Snow flurries bring road warnings
    18 Jan 07 |  Scotland


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