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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 11:33 GMT
Lorry driver dies in 70mph winds
M6 crash scene
The M6 was closed following the accident (picture: Mark Smith)
A lorry driver was killed when his vehicle was blown over in high winds which battered parts of the north-east of England and Cumbria.

Police said the 45-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident, on the northbound M6 near Tebay in Cumbria, early on Thursday.

A 50-mile stretch of the motorway was closed to all traffic as winds gusted up to 70mph.

Elsewhere, roads and rail services were affected by fallen trees and debris.

Northern Rail reported delays between Newcastle and Hexham after a tree fell on the line at Wylam, Northumberland.

Delay journeys

Police urged drivers to travel only if necessary.

In Northumberland, the A68 was closed in both directions due to a fallen tree near Kiln Pit Hill.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency in Cumbria said: "We had about six incidents in the early hours alone on the M6.

"We've basically had to deal with lorries being blown over and blocking carriageways.

"The police asked us to close it totally for a time and we are asking people to delay their journeys if possible and keep an eye on the weather.

"We are not expecting the situation to improve until the afternoon."

The high winds and rain were expected to move south during the day.

Winds of up to 60mph have forced the closure of the Port of Dover.

Forecasters have predicted a storm force 10 in the English Channel and a severe weather warning has been issued by the Met Office.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The effect of the high winds on the M6



SEE ALSO
Storms damage historic buildings
30 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Lorries overturned in high winds
25 Jan 08 |  England

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