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Christmas storms wreak havoc in UK

Driving in a flood24/12/13

By Daniel Machin

Two people are dead, thousands of homes left without power, and Christmas travel plans for many are in disarray following stormy conditions in the UK.

Fire services in Dorset had a busy night on Monday as they rescued 25 people trapped in their cars by flood water.

Crews helped victims in Sturminster, Blandford, Shaftesbury, Sherborne and Wimborne as strong winds and torrential rain battered the UK.

Two people died in the extreme conditions, while thousands of homes were left without power and road, rail, air and sea passengers had their travel plans thrown into disarray.

Flood warnings

The Environment Agency has issued hundreds of flood warnings across all of England and Wales.

A severe flood warning - the highest level, warning of danger to life - is in place in the south-west of England, where it is anticipated that properties will flood.

Widespread delays and cancellations are predicted across the rail network as many operators suspend services.

Meanwhile, the Highways Agency has warned of dozens of road closures and localised flooding.

Flight delays

Gatwick Airport in Sussex is also expecting disruption, with some flights likely to be diverted to other airports.

London's Heathrow Airport is warning of problems and urging passengers to check flight details.

Some 49,000 homes were left without power on Monday, although at least 15,000 of those have now been reconnected.

Southern Electric revealed as many as 27,000 customers were left without electricity in southern England, with 13,000 in and around the Aldershot area.

But with the storm continuing to make its way across the UK, thousands more households could be set for a miserable start to Christmas.

Severe weather warnings

The Met Office has issued a number of severe weather warnings, including several in Scotland and Northern Ireland where sleet, snow and winds of up to 90mph are forecast.

Heavy rain is likely across most of England and Wales, meanwhile, before eventually clearing later in the morning.

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