One dead as powerful storm batters UK

Shoppers shelter from the rain beneath umbrellas as they they carry their purchases in shopping bags on Black Friday in central London, on November 26, 2021. — AFP pic
Shoppers shelter from the rain beneath umbrellas as they they carry their purchases in shopping bags on Black Friday in central London, on November 26, 2021. — AFP pic

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LONDON, Nov 27 — One man was killed, thousands of homes cut off from power and drivers stuck on freezing roads overnight as a powerful storm hit the northern UK, authorities said today.

The man was killed when his car was struck by a falling tree in Northern Ireland late yesterday, police said, as “Storm Arwen” triggered a rare “red weather” warning from the UK’s Met Office.

“People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life,” the meteorological service said.

Packing wind gusts of almost 160 kilometres per hour, the severe gale caused power cuts to more than 55,000 customers in northern England, the region’s electricity utility said.

Express train services were suspended north of Newcastle and roads closed by fallen debris in parts of Scotland, while snowfall from Friday afternoon brought disruption to routes more widely.

The snow and fallen trees caused road blockages across northern England and Scotland, forcing many drivers to sleep in their vehicles overnight, according to traffic police and social media.

Around 120 lorries were “stuck in the snow” on one section of motorway between Manchester and Leeds in northern England, police said, tweeting pictures of the road blanketed in white before snow ploughs could be deployed.

While the winds had eased by Saturday morning, the Met Office warned conditions would remain challenging and the public was urged to avoid non-essential travel. — AFP

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