Storm wrecks havoc in S Britain, leaving 4 dead
Updated: 2013-10-29 05:15
LONDON - Death toll has risen to four as storm swept the southern parts of Britain on Monday, cutting power supplies and disrupting traffic.
A tree fall in gale caused gas explosion in west London, ripping through three houses. A man and a woman died in blast, while three others were taken to hospital.
The other two victims were both killed by trees falling in the storm, according to local reports.
Waves crash against a lighthouse during storms that battered Britain and where a 14-year-old boy was swept away to sea at Newhaven in South East England October 28, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
One of the victims was a 17-year-old girl Bethany Freeman, who was sleeping in Hever, Kent at 7:20 am. A tree collapsed and crushed her caravan. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Donal Drohan, 51, was killed in his car, which was battered by a toppled tree in Watford, Herts at 6:50 am.
Trees fell in the high wind, cutting power supplies to 600,000 homes at the height of the storm, 166,000 of which are still cut off as of 5 pm. Many roads were forced to close.
The numbers are subject to changes as effect of the storm still lasts.
The storm was believed to be the worst in a decade to hit England and Wales.
The Met Office said the gale at the Needles, Isle of Wight, reached the speed of 159 km per hour at 5 a.m. Monday morning. However, Martin Young, Chief Forecaster, said in a press release on the Met Office's website, "While this is a major storm for the UK, we don't currently expect winds to be as strong as those seen in the 'Great Storm' of 1987 or the 'Burns Day storm' of 1990."
Sources with the Heathrow airport confirmed that some 130 flights were cancelled, and suggested passengers check before making their journeys.
Railway companies significantly reduced train services on Monday. Although some cancellations and suspensions were announced on Sunday, the companies were blamed for the inconvenience they brought to passengers, said a local report.
Easyjet, a local airline company, warned passengers to plan in advance as no train would be running between city center of London and major airports including Luton, Gatwick, Southend and Standstead before 9 a.m.
TfL (Transport for London) reported severe delays of several lines, as well as suspension of the overground services on its website. The changes brought troubles to commuters. A picture on BBC website showed a long queue outside an underground station in London.
The storm also affected the British government.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on his twitter that a press conference was cancelled after a crane collapsed on top of the Cabinet Office.
"Today's press conference moved to a day when there isn't a crane on the roof and journalists travelling on the train are able to join us," he tweeted.