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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Southern England lashed by gales
Homes were evacuated after a landslip in north Cornwall
Gale force winds have wreaked havoc in the south of England, with landslips, fallen trees and severe flooding.

Weather warnings were in place for the whole of the south of the country, as the heavy rain moved northwards.

Flooding led to road closures in Dorset and Cornwall, while heavy downpours caused difficulties in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

People were evacuated from their homes in Porthtowan, north Cornwall on Tuesday night after a landslip.

One garden was buried and others were affected as hundreds of tonnes of sand slid around 40 yards (36 metres).

Trees uprooted

It is thought the slip may have been caused by blocked drains.

Elsewhere in the county, trees were uprooted and a giant marquee from the Royal Cornwall Showground at Wadebridge was blown onto the A39, blocking the road.

There were several accidents on the M5 motorway in south-west England, caused by standing water and debris blown from lorries
Tree blown down in the winds
Trees were brought down across south-west England

AA Roadwatch said a fallen tree had disrupted traffic on the A3059 near Newquay and reported significant flooding around Swindon and Plymouth.

Ferries crossing the Channel were cancelled because of the adverse conditions, including P&O sailings from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and the Condor's Poole to St Malo route.

In London, Metropolitan Line Tube services were disrupted after a tree fell on the track near Rickmansworth at around 0600 BST on Wednesday.

Flooding at Waterloo station caused the closure of the entire Waterloo and City Line.

Weather forecasters said the whole south coast of England was expected to be hit by the high winds, which were caused by an unseasonable system of low pressure.

Tarpaulins out

The weather threatened to put a dampener on the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, with intense rain expected to disrupt play throughout the day and winds of up to 45 mph forecast.

The All England Club said fans who bought tickets for today would receive a refund if there was less than an hour's play.

Despite the gloomy forecast, hundreds of tennis fanatics still camped out overnight in the hope of getting tickets to Centre Court or Court One, where the British Number Two Greg Rusedski was due to begin his Wimbledon campaign against Italian David Sanguinetti.

Fans erected tarpaulins and pitched tents to keep themselves dry but even that was not enough as the rain showers blew in from all angles.

Rain badly hampered Tuesday's play, which was abandoned in the early evening, leaving more than 40 first round matches still to be completed - and many of those had not even been started.

The poor weather - more of which is forecast for Thursday - threatened to make this the worst rain-affected first week of the championships since 1997, when two days were completely lost to heavy downpours.


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