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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 16:43 GMT
England battered by wind and rain
Flooded park in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
A park in Huntingdon was flooded when the River Ouse burst its banks
A man died when a tree fell on his car in Somerset as fierce winds and heavy rain brought chaos to parts of England.

Rivers burst their banks and fallen trees blocked railway lines while ferry crossings between Dover and France were suspended due to rough sea conditions.

Severe weather warnings have been in place across much of England, with the bad weather forecast to continue.

A major air and sea search was being carried out for a woman who fell overboard from a ship off Cornwall.

The woman had fallen from the Vera Maretskaya, a 24,000 tonne Russian bulk carrier on which she was a steward, near Falmouth in gale force winds at about 1050 GMT.

Trapped in car

The man killed in Somerset, who has not been identified, died when his vehicle collided with a fallen tree as he was driving near the village of Britty Common, near Wellington, at about 1100 GMT.

A 17-year-old girl was trapped for 45 minutes under a tree blown on to her car in No Mans Heath, Warwickshire.

Waves washing up on to roads at Scarborough
Road users in Scarborough had to watch out for high waves

She was cut free and taken to hospital with a broken leg, suspected spinal injuries and hypothermia, while her male passenger suffered minor injuries.

Another woman escaped with minor injuries when a tree fell on her in Hertfordshire.

Flood warnings were put in place throughout eastern England after rivers burst their banks in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Essex.

Further west, heavy rain has also meant flood barriers are up along the River Severn.

North Yorkshire Fire Service said it had received calls about flash flooding incidents, including houses flooded in the Yorkshire Dales.

Ferries suspended

More flooding near Halifax, in West Yorkshire, caused delays on the rail network between Leeds and Manchester but the Environment Agency said there had been no river flooding incidents in the area.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I thought my own roof was going to come off
Ross McNellie, Ayr

Trains were also affected by trees blown onto railway lines in Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Devon, with Southeastern, Southern and South West Trains all reporting trees obstructing the tracks.

Nine trains were delayed by at least an hour after a large tree fell on a line between Chatham and Sittingbourne, in Kent, just after 0500 GMT.

Train services between Shrewsbury and Wales were affected by flooding across the Welsh border.

Plank embedded in cab of lorry in Dorset, leaving driver with head injuries, picture from Dorset Police
A man suffered head injuries when a plank smashed his windscreen

Part of the canopy at Hither Green station, in south London, was destroyed by high winds.

P&O Ferries, SeaFrance, Norfolkline and Speedferries all suspended cross-Channel services to and from Dover when winds reached storm force 10.

Services from the Kent port to Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne were affected, with passengers advised to contact operators for more information.

Ferry services to and from the Isle of Wight were also suspended because of high winds in the Solent, leaving commuters from the island unable to get to the mainland.

Red Funnel suspended all services until further notice and Wightlink was unable to operate its Portsmouth to Ryde catamaran.

Kew Gardens closed

Motorists trying to reach the King Harry Ferry across the River Dart, at Kingswear in Devon, found the access road blocked by a tree brought down in overnight gales.

The Dartford river crossing bridge linking the M25 from Essex to Kent - one of the UK's busiest roads - was closed due to strong winds. Kent-bound traffic which would have crossed the bridge was diverted through the tunnel crossing, usually used by Essex-bound vehicles.

Trees crushed by falling trees in Kidderminster
Cars were crushed by falling trees in Kidderminster

The new Sheppey crossing in Kent was also closed, although the Kingsferry bridge to the island remained open.

Some particularly high roads in Yorkshire, including the trans-Pennine M62 motorway, were closed to high-sided vehicles because of the high winds.

The M18 was closed after a lorry was blown over near Thorne and the A1 shut after a truck overturned near Boroughbridge.

On the A628 near Barnsley, a lorry driver who had stopped to help a colleague whose lorry had blown over, saw his own cab toppled by the wind.

In Dorset, a driver suffered head injuries, described as non-life-threatening, when a plank which blew off another vehicle smashed through his windscreen near Shaftesbury.

Also in Dorset, a falling tree brought down a lamppost in Christchurch, exposing live wires.

The botanical gardens at Kew in south west London had to be evacuated after trees blew down.


SEE ALSO
Trees down as severe weather hits
11 Jan 07 |  Hereford/Worcs
Commuters hit by gales and rain
11 Jan 07 |  West Yorkshire

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