Page last updated at 01:24 GMT, Sunday, 15 November 2009

100mph storm winds batter south


Weather warnings remain in place across parts of south-east England

Winds of up to 100mph (160km/h) have hit parts of the UK as a storm moves across Wales and southern England.

The figure was recorded at the Needles on the Isle of Wight, while Southampton was struck by winds of 59mph (94km/h).

A squally weather front is moving east with winds dying down behind that. Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to Kent are worst affected.

The Environment Agency has eight flood warnings and 58 less serious flood watches in place in England and Wales.

BBC weather forecaster Chris Fawkes said: "It's worth pointing out that winds are usually strong at the Needles but that's nevertheless a beast of a gust."

Dover port was closed just after midday on Saturday due to the high winds but reopened at 1630 GMT.

Kevin Richardson from the Port of Dover Authority said there were ongoing delays to ferry crossings.

Storm damage in Benfleet (Pic: Jonathan Bradshaw)
Property has been damaged by high winds (Pic: Jonathan Bradshaw)

"But we expect that all of the ferries will be back on schedule by early [Sunday] morning if the weather subsides as we expect."

The Dartford river crossing, Sheppey crossing and Medway bridge were closed by Kent Police on Saturday afternoon.

Ch Insp Martin Cunningham said: "We are urging motorists to be extremely careful when they are driving as the conditions are particularly hazardous.

"The three crossings have been temporarily closed for public safety and we would like to thank motorists for their co-operation with us so far."

Around 60 homes were damaged in Benfleet, Essex, after residents said a tornado struck The Fairway area of the town.

Fire crews who assessed the damage said TV aerials and roof tiles had been removed, although eight properties were more badly damaged.

Langdon Bay (Kent): 79mph
The Needles: 78mph
Solent: 68mph
Solent: 76mph
Isle of Portland: 66mph
Gravesend: 62mph
Heathrow: 59mph
Source: BBC Weather Centre, 1600 GMT Saturday

Jonathan Bradshaw, who sent pictures of storm damage in the Essex town, told BBC News: "We were woken by the sound of debris hitting the window. We got to the window just in time to see the fence collapse."

There were also reports of a tornado in Lowestoft, Suffolk, where a woman was taken to hospital as a precaution after a tree fell on her car.

In Wales, Pembrokeshire was the worst affected with people trapped in their cars by major road flooding.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service dealt with two reported lightning strikes in Horsham and Crawley.

Firefighters took down a "dangerous" kebab shop sign which had become dislodged by strong winds in Gravesend, Kent.

Crews in East Sussex went to Hove railway station after roof sheeting became detached.

There were also calls reporting roof tiles and "for sale" boards being ripped up in Brighton and Bexhill.

The weather caused a fireworks display for the Lord Mayor's parade in London to be called off.

Further updates are available on the BBC Weather website.

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