Winds ease after Britain battered

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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Winds are easing today after Britain was battered by gales which brought travel chaos and left a motorist seriously injured.

The driver escaped with his life after his car was crushed by a tree. He was left with multiple injuries including a serious head wound but was cut from the wreckage and taken to a nearby hospital after the incident in Birmingham.

Fallen trees blocked railway lines, and busy road-bridge routes had to be closed as the storms raged.

Winds overnight and into yesterday gusted at 70 mph or more – including a reading of 97mph at Capel Curig in Conwy, Wales, late on Monday night and one of 75mph at Killowen, Northern Ireland yesterday afternoon.

Andy Ratcliffe, a spokesman for MeteoGroup, said: “Generally we are seeing the winds easing, and that will continue overnight. It will be breezy again today but we are not looking at the gusts we have seen.”

Yesterday saw heavy rain and also some snow on higher ground, and today, tomorrow and Good Friday are also expected to see showers and chilly temperatures before conditions start to improve at the weekend. Drier, more settled conditions are expected early next week.

On Monday there was a heroic sea rescue after a man was saved from a sinking tug at the Esso refinery marine terminal at Fawley, Hampshire.

The Asterix tugboat had got into difficulties in the rough seas, blown up by the savage storm-force winds.

One person was seen to jump from the stricken boat and into the water but was quickly rescued and taken to shore to be treated for hypothermia.

But an employee of Solent Towage, which owns the Asterix, spotted that a man remained in the vessel and jumped into the water to help rescue him.

A Cowes lifeboat spokesman said: “A Fawley emergency employee who was watching the capsized vessel from the pontoon then just glimpsed an arm in a small pocket of air behind a window.

“Without hesitation, the employee leapt into the water, smashed the window and extracted the trapped crew member.”

A coastguard said that all crew in the incident, at around 7.15pm on Monday, had been accounted for.

Road-bridge routes which had to be closed included the Dartford Crossing QEII Bridge on the M25, the Ouse Bridge on the M62, and the M48 Severn Bridge.

The high winds led to trains running at reduced speed in north west England, with delays of up to an hour in the Warrington Bank Quay/Oxenholme Lake District area and in the Carnforth area.

In East Anglia, overhead wire problems between Diss and Stowmarket caused delays of up to an hour to services between Norwich and Ipswich.

On the River Thames in London, a promotional event for the new Thunderbirds TV show was cancelled.

The Humber Bridge was closed after a lorry overturned in high winds, but later re-opened to cars.

Drivers in the area reported widespread congestion caused by the closure, which was put in place after the lorry overturned close to one of the bridge’s 150-metre high support towers.

Further upstream from the Humber Bridge, a carriageway of the M62 on the Ouse Bridge was also closed after a caravan was blown off a trailer.

Drivers caught in the congestion reported seeing the caravan on its side in a precarious position close to the edge of the bridge which spans the River Ouse.

Floodwater submerged cars and pushed one vehicle down a road in the West Yorkshire town of Ripponden, near Halifax.

Fire crews were called to Old Bank, in the town, just before midnight on Monday evening after a culvert became blocked in heavy rain.

A fire service spokesman said the fast-moving water was up to 3ft deep in places and plans were made to evacuate up to five houses, although residents were eventually allowed to stay in their homes.

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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