Fierce storm hits Britain cutting power lines, four killed

Local media dubbed the storm "St. Jude", after the patron saint of lost causes who is traditionally celebrated on October 28, and made comparisons to 1987 when a storm killed 18 people in Britain and felled some 15 million trees.

Zee Media Bureau

London: In what is supposed to be the fiercest storm to strike Britain in a decade, strong gales with speed of upto 99 miles per hour accompanied with heavy rains brought down trees which killed four people, other than causing power cuts and travel disruptions.

Among the dead were a teen girl in Hever, southeast England and a man in Watford, both of whom died by trees falling on them.

Given the tough sea conditions with huge waves lasjing the shore, the rescue operation was stooped and there is no word on the missing boy.

Over two lakh homes across Britain were left powerless as the winds damaged power lines, according to the Energy Networks Association.

The storm also prompted cancellation of over 130 flights at the Heathow airport, while delays were reported on the Eurostar cross-Channel train service due to speed restrictions.

The storm, named St Jude, is the worst to hit Britain after 1987, when the “Great Storm" in October had killed 18 in UK and four in France and caused damage worth one billion pounds.

The storm was also expected to hit parts of the Netherlands later on Monday, the Dutch Meteorological Institute said, and Schiphol airport told passengers to expect cancellations.

In northern France the storm left some 65,000 homes without power early Monday, according to the ERDF distribution network, after wind gusts reached 139 kilometres per hour. Earlier ERDF had estimated 75,000 homes were affected.

Strong winds were forecast to continue hitting Britain`s East, East Midlands, West Midlands, South East and South West and there was a risk that motorbikes and high-sided vehicles could be blown over, the agency added.

The strongest recorded winds hit England`s Isle of Wight at 160 km/h at 0600 GMT, the Met office said.

Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting between the Environment Agency, forecasters and government departments on Sunday to discuss contingency plans.

With Agency Inputs

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