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Sunday, 27 October 2013

Hurricane-Force Storm Hits Southern Britain


Britain is facing a day of transport chaos after hurricane-force winds battered southern areas, shutting down bridges and rail services and grounding flights.
St Jude's storm hit the south west from around midnight - bringing winds in excess of 90mph and torrential rain.

The storm has ripped across Wales and England, felling trees, cutting power supplies to at least 5,000 people and damaging vehicles, with some of the worst weather expected during the morning rush hour.
Gusts of 99mph have been recorded at the Needles on the Isle of Wight, according to the Met Office, while the Environment Agency has put in place 12 flood warnings and 146 flood alerts.

In Newhaven, East Sussex, the family of a 14-year-old boy who was swept into the sea were said to be "distraught" after coastguard rescuers were forced to call off their search.

Felled tree in West Sussex. Pic: Simon Fox
The storm felled trees including in Crawley, West Sussex. Pic: Simon Fox
Prime Minister David Cameron has held talks with government departments and agencies to ensure they are prepared for the storm's impact, while transport minister Baroness Kramer urged commuters to stay at home until the worst of the weather has passed.
Most train operators cancelled all services in the south of England before 9am - with further disruption expected throughout the day.
Network Rail said: "Trains will not be allowed to run until the worst of the storm has passed and engineers have been able to check railway lines in daylight for fallen trees, branches or any other debris which may have blown onto or damaged the infrastructure."

Felled tree in East Sussex
Police cars attempt to get past a felled tree in East Sussex
Heathrow airport cut capacity for all airlines by 20% between 6am and 11am and cancelled 60 flights before the storm hit the mainland.
Sky's Home Affairs Correspondent Mark White reports airline workers have been briefed that winds of up to 80 knots (90+ mph) could last until midday at Heathrow.
Engineers have warned that they will be unable to open aircraft cargo hatches or operate walkways used to offload passengers in winds of more than 40-45 knots.
Airlines are believed to be making plans to divert planes to airports in the north of the UK if necessary.
Both crossings over the Severn Estuary, the QEII Dartford Crossing bridge and the Sheppey Crossing in Kent were all closed to traffic while the Highways Agency issued warnings for high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes.

UK STORM coverage
Baroness Kramer said: "Don’t travel unless you have to. If you do have to travel then check with your rail operator or the Highways Agency that it is safe to do so.
"Use common sense. I wouldn’t want to be on the roads in the dark later tonight."
Western Power said they have 5000 customers without power and are bringing in extra staff to help deal with 60 incidents
The Environment Agency said 20-40mm (0.8-1.6inches) of rain could fall within six to nine hours.
It has teams working to minimise river flood risk, clearing debris from streams and unblocking culverts.
A spokesman added: "Seafronts, quaysides and jetties should be avoided due to the risk of overtopping by waves and wind-blown shingle."

Brighton marina storm
A photographer captured wild seas off the Brighton coast. Pic: Kevin Long
Met Office severe weather alerts are in place, with an amber warning, meaning "be prepared", for the southern half of England and Wales.
A yellow warning, meaning "be aware", has been issued for the rest of Wales and England.
In London, the Metropolitan Police has urged people to avoid calling 999 during the storm unless there is a real emergency.
The storm has been compared to the Great Storm of 1987, which claimed 22 lives in England and France in a three hour period.
Veteran weatherman Michael Fish, who famously failed to predict its severity, warned people to "batten down the hatches" and delay their Monday morning journey by two or three hours.

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Dal Khalsa UK - Dal Khalsa International's unit in Britain working for the Sikh Rights,Right to Self Determination - Khalistan,Justice & educating the Sikh Nation as well as others
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