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UK weather: Thousands without power as South-west takes a 'pasting' from storm

 

Thousands of homes in south-west England, Wales and Ireland are without power and transport networks are in chaos today after the country was battered by 80mph winds and heavy rain overnight. Western Power Distribution said around 44,000 customers had been affected since Tuesday afternoon and a remaining 5,000 homes were still without power, despite staff working through the night. Most of the outages were caused by "airborne debris" that had hit overhead power lines a company spokesman said.

 

"Over the last 12 hours or so 44,000 customers in the South-west have been off supply at some point but we've managed to restore it to all but 5,000 homes," he said. "It's an extremely exceptional event. We have new staff being drafted in from nearby to replace our teams this morning. We have a constant approach to this because of the ongoing strong winds." Phil Davies, network service manager for the company, said customers had "quite a pasting in the South-west overnight".

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-weather-thousands-of-homes-left-without-power-as-southwest-takes-a-pasting-from-storm-9108407.html

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Severe Weather Warning As 92mph Winds Hit

 

Thousands of homes are without power in southwest England, Wales and Ireland after winds of up to 92mph hit and heavy rain fell in many areas. With nine severe flood warnings in place and transport networks in some areas seriously affected by weather, David Cameron announced he would be holding a crisis meeting on the situation. He later said that an extra £100m will be spent over the next year tackling the aftermath of the floods. He told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions that Â£75m will fund repairs, £15m will go on maintenance and £10m has been earmarked for "urgent work" in Somerset. Mr Cameron earlier tweeted that the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson  "is doing an excellent job". Hundreds of Western Power Distribution staff have been working to restore power to homes in the South West. Mr Cameron said up to 8,000 are still without electricity, down from around 60,000.

 

The company's Phil Davies told Sky News: "There are still lots of problems out there, we are still working at it and we are importing staff from Wales and the Midlands." In Ireland, 20,000 homes were left without power, now down to 8,000, as the second city, Cork, was inundated for the third time in five days. In Dawlish, between Exeter and Cornwall, a section of seawall under the coastal railway line collapsed and two people had to be rescued from a car. The line has been closed. Residents were evacuated from 30 flooded houses in Kingsand, Cornwall, and Tamar Coastguard Rescue Team helped rescue "a number of people". Homes were evacuated on the seafront at Torcross in Devon, as the high tide smashed the fronts of four properties, and restaurants of Plymouth seafront were damaged.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1206599/severe-weather-warning-as-92mph-winds-hit

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Lessons from Atlanta gridlock: forecasts can and must improve

 

Here in Atlanta, at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society, much of the talk is about last week—the snowstorm that paralyzed Atlanta, produced epic traffic tie-ups, and stranded countless school children and office workers.

 

Much of the post-storm analysis has raised questions about the failure of state and local officials to better protect the city, given that forecasters predicted hazardous winter weather. But I think we should also draw lessons about improving our forecasts.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2014/02/05/lessons-from-atlanta-gridlock-forecasts-can-and-must-improve/

Edited by knocker

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Devon rail line washed away by the monster waves

 

MAINLAND Britain was battered by 90mph winds and monster waves yesterday – with more violent storms forecast to cause further damage over the coming days. Parts of a key railway line were destroyed and nearly 10,000 homes were left without power as the brutal weather wreaked havoc. Police helicopters were scrambled to help evacuate 150 properties in the Somerset flooding danger zone as David Cameron set up a £100million emergency fund to assist communities in coping with the crisis. Winds of 105mph were recorded on the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall. The latest storms saw Dawlish in Devon bear the brunt of the damage – with shocked locals claiming it felt like “the end of the worldâ€.

 

Resident Robert Parker said: “It was like an earthquake. “I’ve been in some terrible storms in the North Sea but last night was just a force of nature.†Another local, Jeff Deacon, added: “This is surreal. I’ve never seen anything like this. There’s debris all over the road – it’s like a war zone.†A 100ft stretch of seawall in the town collapsed into the swirling waters, leaving the railway line hanging in mid-air. The damage sparked chaos for travellers as First Great Western were forced to halt the busy Penzance-to-Exeter service. Patrick Hallgate, from Network Rail, said it could take four to six weeks to repair the track, which is the main rail link between south Devon and Cornwall.

 

http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/458233/Devon-rail-line-washed-away-by-the-monster-waves

Thousands of homes without power as new storm batters Britain - and it's set to get WORSE

 

THOUSANDS of homes have been left without power as a new storm brought more woe for Brits last night. Gales of more than 90MPH hit parts of the country, with severe flood warnings alerting locals to a "danger to life" along much of the south coast. This morning, 8,000 homes remained cut off from power supplies, with 44,000 customers affected in total since yesterday. The overnight storm also caused chaos for Brits trying to get to work today. But, forecasters have warned the winter weather misery could get even WORSE over the coming days. A huge SUPERSTORM is brewing in the north Atlantic, threatening to smash into Britain over the weekend. The Met Office is warning of a "significant" event, bringing torrential rain, flooding and strong winds.

 

A very low depression is coming in from the Atlantic on Friday night which we are expecting to be significant," said spokeswoman Laura Young. “We are expecting very heavy downpours with 40mm expected to fall in three hours, up to 50mm [two inches] in some parts. “Regions which are not currently flooded could be affected, the unsettled weather is likely to continue into next week. “There is also the risk of very strong winds along the coast and inland, this looks nastier than we have seen this week.†This morning, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he was to chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency committee. "I'll be chairing a COBRA today to ensure all that can be done is being done over the latest storms, flooding and power cuts," he wrote on Twitter.

 

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/364125/Thousands-of-homes-without-power-as-new-storm-batters-Britain-and-it-s-set-to-get-WORSE

 

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UK braced for more heavy rain after storms

 

Britain is braced for further heavy rain in areas already saturated after being battered by storms. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will make a statement to MPs about the flooding crisis and will chair the government's emergency committee Cobra. It comes as the Met Office has more severe weather warnings for rain for southern and south-west England and south Wales from Thursday afternoon. The Environment Agency has two severe flood warnings in the Somerset Levels. Mr Pickles will chair Cobra in the absence of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who has been forced to pull out of leading the government's response to the floods to have emergency surgery on a detached retina.

Robin Gisby of Network Rail told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it would take "several weeks" to fix parts of the railway line at Dawlish in Devon, following storm destruction to what is seen as a vital transport link between the South West and the rest of the country. There are concerns among business leaders in Devon and Cornwall that the destruction of the line will cost the local economy millions of pounds.

 

'Rain is back'

 

Forecasters said there could be 20mm-40mm (0.8in-1.6in) of rain falling on saturated ground on Thursday, with further bouts of rain to come into the weekend. BBC weather presenter Matt Taylor said: "After some dry and bright weather to begin with across central southern parts of England and Wales, I'm afraid to say the rain is back - some heavy and persistent rain nudging its way northwards through the afternoon to take us into the early evening rush-hour. "The winds although not much of a feature of this to begin with... will strengthen as we go through Thursday night into Friday morning." The Met Office has amber severe weather warnings - meaning "be prepared" - for rain for parts of southern England from 15:00 GMT. There are yellow severe weather warnings - "be aware" - for areas including south-west England and south Wales from 12:00 GMT. The Environment Agency has severe flood warnings - meaning "danger to life" - in Somerset at Salt Moor and North Moor including Moorland, and at the A361 East Lyng to Burrowbridge. There are about 60 flood warnings in England and Wales and more than 200 flood alerts. In Scotland, there are four flood warnings in Tayside, and a number of flood alerts.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26061795

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Weather Alert Over Heavy Rain And Strong Wind

 

Further severe weather is set to strike southern England and Wales today, raising fears of further flooding on the water-logged Somerset Levels. The Met Office has warned of heavy and persistent spells of rain across southern England extending into the afternoon. Two turbulent weather systems are due to strike Britain, bringing strong winds and rain in their wake.  Communities Secretary Eric PIckles is making a statement at Westminster at 11.15am on the flooding, and is to chair a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee. Ireland has also been battered by stormy weather - video has emerged of a dog walker being swept off her feet when a wave smashed over a wall in Tramore, County Waterford. The Environment Agency has two severe flood warnings in place for the Somerset Levels, where some villages have been surrounded by water for the past month. Homes have been flooded in Fordgate in Somerset.

 

The first warning affects the Salt Moor and North Moor. The second is in place on the A361 between east Lyng and Burrowbridge. Up to 1.6ins (40mm) of rain is predicted to fall along the south coast of England today. Upland areas including Salisbury Plain, South Downs and North Downs are set to be hit by the downpours. Winds of up to 40mph are also set to batter the south coast, potentially bringing high waves and more damage to storm-hit areas. Some 761 homes in the South West are without power, according to Western Power Distribution. There are 180 homes without power in Somerset alone. The further warnings come after the main railway line between Exeter and Penzance was cut by severe weather.  Repairs to the line are unlikely to be completed for up to six weeks. In Ireland, work is continuing to restore power to more than 350 properties which remain cut off, after the second city, Cork, was inundated for the third time in five days.

 

The Prime Minister has announced an extra £100m to help the communities worst affected by the severe weather - £75m to fund repairs, £15m on maintenance and £10m earmarked for "urgent work" in Somerset. Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has been forced to stop leading the Government's response to the floods in order to have emergency surgery on a detached retina. A Downing Street spokesman said he is set to be off "for a few days".

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1207352/weather-alert-over-heavy-rain-and-strong-wind

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Posted Image

Truely awesome graphic from Daily express today, wave from the EAST????, few cyclone/hurricane strewn over UK for good measureA record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLATER]A record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLAT

Monster 75 FOOT wave smashes into BRITISH coast: Atlantic superstorm to hit UK TOMORROW

 

 

ER]A record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLATER]

 

A record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLATER]

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Britain braced for NEW Atlantic storm set to batter beleaguered coastline this weekend with biggest waves of the winter and bringing huge deluge of rainfall on flooded communities

  • Two new turbulent weather systems are expected to hit the country, bringing high winds and rain
  • Two severe flood warnings remain in place in the Somerset Levels where many homes have already been evacuated
  • Residents in Somerset have reportedly refused to leave their homes because of their fear of looting
  • Met Office has predicted up to 1.6ins of rain to fall on the south coast, where many areas are already drenched
  • Upland areas including Salisbury Plan, South Downs and North Downs set to be worst affected by downpours
  • Experts have predicted waves up to 35ft high could batter parts of Cornish coastline over the weekend
  • Environment Agency spokesman has said people in parts of Britain face a 'conveyor belt of storms'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552852/Britain-braced-NEW-Atlantic-storm-set-batter-beleaguered-coastline-weekend-biggest-waves-winter-bringing-huge-deluge-rainfall-flooded-communities.html

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'We might lose everything': Shock of families evacuated over fears their homes will fall into the sea after waves destroy coastal defences

  • Downing Street said around 8,000 properties were yesterday without power due to another violent Atlantic storm
  • Winds of up to 92mph caused 'airborne debris' to fly into overhead lines and made repairs difficult
  • Gusts of up to 70mph were expected inland across parts of south Wales, Devon and Cornwall, Somerset, Dorset
  • Met Office warned winds likely to be 'similar sort of strength' all day and poor weather will continue until weekend
  • Environment Agency issued four severe flood warnings which are only put in place when there is 'danger to life'
  • Prime Minister pledges extra £100m for flood defences and chairs COBRA national emergency committee
  • An estimated four million people were yesterday left outside shut Tube stations or left scrambling for buses or taxis

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552027/Britains-coastline-battered-storms-hurricane-force-winds-sweep-Atlantic.html

Edited by Summer Sun

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Freak Weather Places Europe On Red Alert

 

Freak weather has left countries across Europe on a state of high alert. Much of the continent is sharing the misery endured by Britons over recent weeks - and it seems there will be no imminent relief as storms continue to brew in the Atlantic. Heavy snow has blanketed Slovenia and parts of neighbouring Serbia and Croatia. Local media sources say more than 120,000 households have lost power, affecting some 250,000 of the two million Slovenian population. Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic have sent in emergency generators.

 

"The crisis is strong and severe, and our people are doing whatever it takes to maintain the life," said Borut Pahor, the Slovenian President. "The country is absolutely in a hostile environment." In the town of Logatec a power line crashed into the roof of a store owned by French car manufacturer Renault. Slovenian emergency services director Branko Dervodel said the recovery would take several months, possibly stretching into April. Elsewhere, several provinces have been placed on red alert in Spain, forcing rescuers to suspend the search for a teenage boy swept away by a wave on Sunday. Numerous people have been injured by giant waves and the seafront at San Sebastián alone has suffered damage estimated at €4.5m (£3.8m). The outlook is similar in France, where 29 areas have been placed on alert, with Finistère on the west coast of Brittany in a state of red alert. In southwest France, a Spanish cargo ship was smashed in two on a dyke at Anglet, with a military helicopter deployed to rescue those on board.

 

In Ireland, the second city of Cork is flooded after the River Lee burst its banks. Gale force winds have left up to 20,000 Irish homes without power. Forecasters are predicting more bad weather across Europe through Thursday and Friday.

 

Posted Image

Postojna, Slovenia

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1207642/freak-weather-places-europe-on-red-alert

Edited by Summer Sun

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HERE IT COMES: Huge Atlantic storm heading STRAIGHT for Britain will hit in just 12 hours

 

THIS TERRIFYING image shows how a catastrophic storm hurtling across the Atlantic will smash into Britain in just HOURS.  The UK faces the WORST hurricane-force winds and torrential rain this winter and possibly for DECADES. And forecasters warned there will be NO let up in the extreme stormy weather until at least the end of the month. The entire west coast is braced for colossal 75 foot-plus waves to crash inland this weekend triggering unchecked flooding and widespread destruction. A deep low Atlantic pressure system miles of the UK coast will whip up 150mph winds and violent sea surges as it barrels into the country. At its centre the intense storm will see pressure drop to just 944mb - seven millibars LOWER than the Great Storm of 1987.

 

Experts said the worst of the weather is due to set in tonight before a relentless onslaught of wind and rain over the weekend. They warned communities to prepare for trees to be torn from the ground, roofs ripped from buildings and the flooding crisis to dramatically deteriorate. Meteorological projections show winds of 12 on the Beaufort scale - Hurricane force - hitting the west coast on tonight and into tomorrow.  Forecasters have warned exceptional low pressure driving the storm threatens to whip up gales which could exceed 100mph - way off the Beaufort scale.

 

http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/458321/Weather-warning-Atlantic-storm-will-smash-into-Britain-and-devastate-southern-coasts

   

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Weather: Flood-Hit Somerset Village Evacuated

 

Royal Marines are helping residents in a Somerset village to flee their homes after flood defences broke and water levels rose by a metre in areas. Around 30 households in Moorland refused to leave initially, but most have now heeded the advice of officials and are evacuating the area as the water continues to rise after another night of heavy rain. Residents have been evacuated from many other parts of the Levels, including North Moor, Fordgate and Salt Moor. The chairman of the Environment Agency (EA) will visit Somerset flood victims later, more than a month after severe storms first hit the area. The visit comes amid ongoing criticism from some residents who argue that river dredging could have helped limit the flood damage. Sky's David Crabtree, in Bridgwater, said people were "angry and frustrated" after a fifth week under water. "It will be a very depressing scenario for Lord Smith to view," he added.

 

Jan McCutcheon, a Moorland resident, told Sky News she would not be leaving her home, despite official warnings. "I'm not moving out," she said. "I have a horse, cats and a dog. I'm not prepared to go and leave it for other people to come in looting." Ms McCutcheon said the government needed to do much more: "Send aid to your own country - get the jobs done in your own country first ... The Parrett (river) should have been dredged a long, long time ago." Members of the armed forces were brought in to help with the flood relief effort in Somerset last night, where some villages have been surrounded by water for at least a month.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1207923/weather-flood-hit-somerset-village-evacuated

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Environment Agency chief Lord Smith to visit flood area

 

Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith is to visit the flood-hit Somerset Levels, as more heavy rain is set to hit parts of the UK. He will make his first trip since the floods to the area on Friday, where 30-40mm (1.2-1.6in) of rain is expected. His visit comes as about 80 homes in the village of Moorland in Somerset have been evacuated. A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said a "handful" of other residents had chosen to stay. The local water level began rising after temporary flood defences were breached in the early hours of Friday.

 

'Absolute devastation'

 

An Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesman said: "We have been informing local residents and strongly advising them to leave the area. "Most are taking this advice and a rest centre has been established for those affected at Westfield Church on West Street, Bridgwater. The Royal Marines and search and rescue volunteers are assisting us with this. "Police will remain in the area to help those who wish to evacuate. Access into the village will be monitored and along with the fire and rescue service we will be patrolling the area." The water level rose by about one metre overnight.

 

Jan MacEacharn is one of the residents who has decided to stay. She said the water had not yet entered her home. She told BBC Breakfast that she could not leave because she had a horse, cats and a dog that she did not want to leave behind. "Everybody in this village is in absolute devastation," she said. "There's not a single person in this village that has got their home left." Local farmer Jenny Winslade said she and her family had been forced to leave their home and ship 550 cattle off their farm. "The water is rising at an unbelievably fast rate," she said. "The EA (Environment Agency) have completely lost control of the situation and it's a disaster zone out there."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26078592

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Devon and Cornwall storm: Huge waves forecast

 

The South West is preparing itself for another battering by the elements with strong winds and rain forecast for Friday night and into the weekend. There is a Met Office yellow alert, meaning be aware, for rain and an amber wind alert, meaning be prepared, for gusts up to 80mph (129km/h). Surf forecasters said the predicted wave heights of 35ft (10.6m) were the largest of the recent storms. In Devon work on the damaged section of railway at Dawlish will continue later.

 

'Significantly larger'

 

The Daily Telegraph reported that days before the recent winter storms, the Environment Agency is said to have told peers it could not act to protect the railway line at Dawlish from the sea until it had studied the impact of any improvements on local birdlife. The line at Dawlish was this week severely damaged by the surging sea amid winter storms, leaving much of Devon and Cornwall cut off from the rest of the country by rail. But the Environment Agency denied this, with a spokeswoman saying it did not "recognise the description of the recent meeting with Network Rail and peers". She added: "The focus of the meeting was to discuss the Exeter Flood Risk Management scheme and its interaction with the rail mainline going into Exeter St Davids."

 

Railway engineers working on the damaged section of track at Dawlish, where the line runs at the very edge of the coast but has been left dangling above the sea after land was washed away, will continue with attempts to protect the track from the next bout of bad weather. Concrete will be sprayed on to the cliff to try to limit the short term damage. Work to restore the line properly starts next week. Jacqueline Coles, one of those evacuated from her home in Dawlish said: "I won't feel safe even when they say we can go back. I'm going to say 'I'm not going back, you will have to put me somewhere else'." Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin is due to visit the town later.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26078464

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Posted Image

Truely awesome graphic from Daily express today, wave from the EAST????, few cyclone/hurricane strewn over UK for good measureA record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLATER]A record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLAT

Monster 75 FOOT wave smashes into BRITISH coast: Atlantic superstorm to hit UK TOMORROW

 

 

ER]A record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLATER]

 

A record wave has just hit Britain but forecasters warn far worse is coming [sTEPHAN SLATER]

 

 

Even more remarkable... Both cyclones are identical. 

 

What are the chances?? Posted Image

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Lord Smith Gives No Apology Over Flood Chaos

 

Lord Smith has said he is "very proud" of the agency's work and will not resign despite days of criticism over the response to the floods. His first visit to the area comes after Royal Marines were called in to get people to safety in Moorlands after flood defences broke on Thursday night. Facing a crowd of reporters, Lord Smith said: "I have no intention of resigning. I'm very proud of the work of the Environment Agency and its staff in the face of the most extreme weather." "Local people have made very clear the distress they've experienced and the difficulties they've been facing," he added.

 

Referring to one man who said he had heard "nonsense" from the Environment Agency during a meeting with residents, Lord Smith said: "We had a very good discussion about what we'll be able to do in terms of the dredging." The Environment Agency boss failed to apologise for the misery some are going through, but told reporters that his staff were "working their socks off". He said an extra £130m pledged by the Government would make a significant difference, but added dredging was "not the whole answer".

 

Other parts of the Levels, including North Moor, Fordgate and Salt Moor, were also evacuated overnight as flood waters rose by up to a metre. Some Moorlands residents are angry at the Government, saying they are too slow to help their "own country". Others have accused the police of "scaring" people by using a helicopter and tannoy to urge residents to evacuate. Jan MacEacharn told Sky News she would not be leaving her home, despite official warnings. "I'm not moving out," she said. "I have a horse, cats and a dog. I'm not prepared to go and leave it for other people to come in looting." Ms MacEacharn said the government needed to do much more: "Send aid to your own country - get the jobs done in your own country first ... The Parrett (river) should have been dredged a long, long time ago." Another resident, Amante Witherick, told Sky there "was absolutely no need" for tannoy warnings from the police helicopter, which she said could alarm elderly people.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1207923/lord-smith-gives-no-apology-over-flood-chaos

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Anger at environment chief in flood-hit Somerset

 

Residents of the flood-hit Somerset Levels have accused Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith of "letting everyone down", as he and David Cameron visited the area. Lord Smith said he had "no intention of resigning" in the face of criticism for not visiting sooner and not doing more to protect local homes and businesses. Somerset Levels resident Jim Winkworth said he was "bloody mad" Lord Smith had not apologised. It comes amid more UK weather warnings.

 

The prime minister travelled to the Somerset Levels and admitted there were "lessons to learn" from the situation. Mr Cameron, who met farmers and walked through flood water in Wellington boots, said: "One of the big ones is that the pause in dredging that took place from the late 1990s - that was wrong - and we need to get dredging again." He pledged help to those affected by floods, saying: "Clearly, people have faced a very tough time and continue to face a tough time, and that's why we have to do everything we can to help." He added: "Everything that can be done will be done and I will make sure that happens."

 

The Met Office has severe weather warnings in place for rain and wind in southern England and Wales, with further rain warnings issued for the Midlands, east of England and Northern Ireland. The Environment Agency has two severe flood warnings - meaning "danger to life" - in the Somerset Levels, at Salt Moor and North Moor including Moorland, and at A361 East Lyng to Burrowbridge. There are also more than 150 flood warnings across England and Wales, and more than 300 flood alerts.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26078592

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Well I have allready spotted an error in their writing.

 

Quote: 'Experts said the worst of the weather is due to set in tonight before a relentless onslaught of wind and rain over the weekend.'

 

I'm sorry but this isn't the case, Gales are expected tonight for Coastal areas then Saturday will see the worse winds with severe gales and gusts of 65-80mph in the far southwest coastal districts.

 

The talk of 150mph winds however is something completely lauphable and only an idiot with a brain the size of a fleck of dust would write this type of rubbish.

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Weather: UK Faces Atlantic Storm Battering

 

Communities across the UK are on alert as 80mph winds and heavy rain head in from the Atlantic, threatening more flooding misery. The South West and South Wales were the first areas to be hit, and the storm is set to continue on over southern England. The extreme weather is likely to heap more pain on the Somerset Levels which are suffering after weeks of flooding, with residents evacuated from some crisis-hit villages. Some 1,500 military personnel are on notice to help if needed.

 

The Met Office has issued amber severe weather warnings - meaning "be prepared" - for rain and wind across southern parts of England and Wales until Sunday. The Environment Agency has two severe flood warnings in place - meaning "danger to life" - in the Somerset Levels. Devon and Dorset are also at "significant risk" of new flooding, with the danger peaking with the high tide at lunchtime. There are fears the Dawlish rail line, badly damaged earlier this week, could be in for a further battering.

 

"Already the sea is lashing against the sea wall and coming over the rail itself," said Sky News' David Crabtree in Dawlish. "A massive operation continues to shore up the railway. Forty metres of it have already been destroyed." In all, there are also more than 180 flood warnings and 300 flood alerts across England and Wales. Official figures show last month was the wettest January in almost 250 years. Senior politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron - who yesterday visited Somerset - have promised affected areas will get all the help they need.

 

"The scale of it here in Somerset is immense when you think of how many square miles are under water," said Mr Cameron. He also admitted the decision to stop dredging the rivers Tone and Parrett in the 1990s was wrong. Under-fire Environment Agency boss Lord Smith was confronted by angry locals and crowds of reporters during his visit to the area on Friday.

 

However, he refused to apologise over persistent accusations he could have done more and said he would not be resigning. Lord Smith said dredging of local rivers would begin as soon as flood waters recede. Speaking to Sky News on Saturday, Local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said he was "appalled" by his behaviour. "The arrogance of the man beggars belief," said the Conservative MP. The severe weather that has brought chaos to many areas is expected to continue until at least the middle of February. Forecasters say a powerful jet stream is to blame for the relentless stormy conditions that have caused huge disruption and many millions of pounds of damage.

 

It has pushed an "exceptional" succession of low pressure systems across the Atlantic Ocean to Britain, the Met Office has said.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1208461/weather-uk-faces-atlantic-storm-battering

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'Phenomenal' waves expected off South West coast

 

Coastguards have warned of "phenomenal" waves of more than 45ft (14m) expected off the south-west of England. Jo Smith, from Brixham Coastguard, said the inshore forecast was "not looking good, with winds increasing". The waves are predicted for 12 miles (19km) offshore, and Ms Smith said that "we very rarely see them in an inshore forecast". She said that the waves should not be as large on the coast but that communities "would feel the brunt". Torbay and Lyme Bay were "stacked-up with merchant vessels taking shelter". Elsewhere, more than 300 customers were without power across Cornwall. In Dawlish, where the main railway line between Devon and Cornwall has been destroyed by waves, Network Rail said it would cost an estimated £10m to repair the line. In Cornwall, areas most at risk of flooding are Mullion, Newlyn, Looe, Porthleven, Kingsand and Cawsand, Cornwall Council's Silver Command Unit has said. It co-ordinates emergency services and agencies involved in responding to severe weather.

 

In Kingsand, where dozens of homes were damaged by huge waves on Wednesday, there are concerns for the clock tower. The BBC's Chris Buckler said: "Its base is gradually being eroded away by the force of the crashing water. "As the waves and weather continue their indiscriminate assault on the Cornish coast, every effort is being made to keep the clock tower standing." In Bodmin, St Petroc's Church rectory is at risk of collapse after the chimney was damaged in strong winds in January. Despite warnings by the coastguards to stay away from the region's beaches, professional windsurfers from around the world have travelled to Gwithian, in Cornwall, to ride the waves. The Red Bull Storm Chase competition, which has taken place off Japan and Tasmania, has brought its own safety teams to assist surfers. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for high winds in the south-west of England, with 60-70mph coastal gusts. The Environment Agency has issued several flood warnings and alerts for Devon and Cornwall.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26096286

UK floods: Southern UK set for gales and more rain

 

Southern parts of the UK are again being hit by rain and strong winds with forecasters warning of gales to come. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for high winds in south Wales and south-west England, with 60-70 mph coastal gusts and large waves expected. The warning, which is valid until 06:00 GMT on Sunday, says gusts could reach 80mph in exposed locations. Coastguards in Cornwall say they are expecting "phenomenal" waves off shore, possibly reaching 45ft (14m) in height. The Ministry of Defence has put 1,500 personnel on notice to help in southern England if needed. On Saturday morning, about 670 homes in the Newbury, Basingstoke, Bournemouth and Salisbury areas were without electricity. More than 300 homes in Cornwall also had no power.

 

Concrete

 

In Dawlish, where the key railway line between Devon and Cornwall has been destroyed by waves, concrete has been sprayed onto the cliff behind the track. The aim is to make the area safer, with more high winds and large waves expected. The BBC's Jenny Hill, in Paignton on the south Devon coast, says the main concern is the high tide between 11:00 and 12:00 GMT.  "Waves will get higher and higher, impacting sea defences which have already taken quite a battering," she said. The Environment Agency says there is a significant risk of further flooding on Saturday throughout Devon and Cornwall. The Conservative MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Ian Liddell-Grainger, said river levels in his constituency remained "enormously high" and people there were "having to batten down again to prepare for the next storm".

 

He again criticised the Environment Agency and its head, the former Labour cabinet minister Lord Smith, for not dredging in the area to prepare for storms. "We have been let down by London," he said. "On the ground they [Environment Agency staff] are working hard. Up in London I don't know what they are doing." The Prospect union, which represents staff in the Environment Agency, rejected the comments, saying there was a "concerted effort to criticise the Environment Agency rather than those who have cut their budget by £45m a year". Supt Ian Wylie of Avon and Somerset police said agencies working in the area were constantly trying to plan ahead but there would be no quick solutions. "The biggest challenge is the longevity of this," he said. "The bucket really is full. Any more rain is compounding the problem. "It is going to be a number of weeks before this response phase moves into recovery."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26095937

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Storm Charlie to wreak havoc: 100mph gusts to cause mayhem this weekend

 

VIOLENT storms are set to leave a trail of destruction this weekend with torrential rain and ferocious gales bringing more misery.Storm Charlie’s hurricane-force gusts of more than 100mph were due to sweep in from the Atlantic on Friday night. Forecasters have warned the downpours will lash swathes of the South, already crippled by devastating floods. The bleak news comes as experts urged people to take extra care to ensure they stay safe during the deadly weather conditions.

 

Charlie is expected to pack a punch on a par with the Great Storm of 1987 which caused fallen trees and damaged buildings. The main thrust of the storm is set to hit today as the centre of its deep low pressure system sweeps across the country. And there will be no let up in the volatile conditions. After the squalls settle down tomorrow, further Atlantic lows are likely to roar in next week. The Met Office issued Level 2 amber severe weather warnings until Sunday.

 

People have been told to expect travel mayhem, power cuts and damage to trees and buildings. Met Office spokeswoman Laura Young said warnings had been extended because of the “significant impact†expected by the storm. She said although things will calm down later tomorrow, another deep Atlantic low pressure system is following closely behind Charlie. She said: “There is a risk that defences which have not already been flooded could be, with rainfall totals looking very high in areas already affected. “It is looking unsettled over next week, but there is the potential for it to get better towards the end of the month.â€

 

The Environment Agency has issued two severe flood warnings for the next few days indicating a “danger to life†particularly across Somerset. There are also 160 flood warnings and 300 flood alerts across the UK as river levels surge and rain falls on saturated ground. An Environment Agency spokesman said: “There is a high risk on the Somerset Levels. River flooding in this area is expected to be exacerbated by further rainfall.†Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: “This weekend has all the ingredients for a significant storm with the South most at risk. We could comfortablybreach 100mph winds in some parts, this is shaping up to be a very serious event.â€

 

This weekend’s storm has been named Charlie by The Weather Channel, after author Charles Dickens, born on February 7, 1812. Forecaster Leon Brown said that in an added twist heavy rain will turn to snow with four inches likely in the North and on higher ground in Wales. He said: “There will be more severe weather next week, a band of rain moving East early on Tuesday will bring snow.†Official figures reveal England and Wales has had the rainiest December to January since 1876-77 and the second wettest since 1766.

 

http://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/458623/Storm-Charlie-to-wreck-havoc-100mph-gusts-to-cause-mayhem-this-weekend

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Gales of up to 80mph and 35 feet waves create further flooding misery as a fresh series of storms sweep across Britain

  • Heavy rainfall of up to an inch forecast, threatening more havoc around already overflowing rivers
  • High tide between 11:00 and 12:00 GMT is the main concern - high waves will impact battered sea defences
  • Today’s storms are expected to be at least as severe as last week which causes chaos across southern England
  • The Environment Agency has issued more than 500 flood warnings and alerts, two of which pose 'a danger to life'
  • Ministry of Defence has put 1,500 personnel on standby to assist in southern England if needed
  • The Environment Agency Significant risk of further flooding on Saturday throughout Devon and Cornwall
  • Flooding has now spread to the Home Counties - Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Hampshire
  • Calmer conditions and some respite tomorrow and Monday, but 'deep depression’ is likely early hours of Tuesday
  • Much of Somerset has been underwater since December and there is more bad weather coming

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2554557/Gales-80mph-heavy-rainfall-create-flooding-misery-Britain-fresh-series-storms-sweep-in.html

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Weather: UK Faces Flood Threat 'For Days'

 

The ferocious storms and torrential downpours that have battered Britain are set to continue for days, heaping misery on flood victims and coastal areas. Forecasters have warned there will be little respite from hurricane-force winds and lashing rain that have seen hundreds of people forced from their homes by flooding and the South West completely cut off from the rest of the country by rail. There are almost 500 flood warnings and alerts in place for southern and central England and Wales, while hundreds of homes in Dorset, Surrey and Cornwall have been left without power. In Chertsey, Surrey, where the River Thames burst its banks, a seven-year-old boy died and 17 people were taken to hospital after falling ill. Police said flooding in the town was "one line of inquiry" being pursued as they investigate the tragedy.

 

Prime Minister David Cameron will chair an emergency Cobra meeting later today as ministers and Environment Agency bosses face ongoing criticism over their response to the severe weather. Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said an extra 1,600 military personnel are on standby and ready to be deployed across southern parts of the country if required.  Train operators have put on replacement bus services and cut ticket prices after landslips and floods blocked all routes to the South West. Flooding at Athelney and between Taunton and Bridgwater in Somerset means that all mainline routes to the region from London are closed.

 

The diversionary route via Yeovil is also closed at Crewkerne because of a landslip and is expected to remain shut for up to a week. Network Rail said repair work is progressing in six-hour shifts between high tides at Dawlish in Devon, where a crucial section of track linking Cornwall to the rest of the country was destroyed by high tides and stormy seas last Wednesday. The Met Office has warned that further rain and winds are likely to cause more flood risks into next week as river levels rise along the Thames, Severn and Stour. Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: "Another depression will track across the south through Wednesday night and early Thursday bringing gales and heavy rain, again a fast-moving system, but raising the risk of coastal flooding for Wales and southern England.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1208817/weather-uk-faces-flood-threat-for-days

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Environment Agency Slammed For 'Success' Claim

 

Flood victims in the Somerset Levels have reacted angrily after a senior official hailed the Environment Agency's performance as a "success story". It comes as the agency prepares to launch a major flood management plan to divert water away from areas already under water. Director of operations David Jordan told a press briefing that the 5,000 homes flooded during the winter storms were "individual tragedies". But he added: "We need to recognise that 1.3 million other properties would have flooded if these flood defences had not been built. "That is the success story, if you like, that we are talking about." Reacting to the comments, one Burrowbridge resident told Sky News: "What the Environment Agency has done and how they've handled it has been atrocious."

 

Another resident, who has been campaigning to get rivers dredged, said: "They've been successful in employing some fantastic people on the ground but the overall management and the policies that have created this are appalling." The comments provoked an angry response from Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, whose Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency has been among the worst affected areas. He said: "What a stupid bloody man. To call this a bloody success story. This is getting worse. "This is absolute stupidity and arrogance. This is a tragedy and disaster.

 

"The Prime Minister said it is a biblical scene, and he was right. It's not a success story. "This is an out of touch, out of control quango which is stuck in a time warp of arrogance and stupidity. "I only want five million quid to dredge a river, and he is talking about a success story." This sentiment is a common one on the Levels, where Environment Agency workers have been praised for sometimes working through the night in difficult conditions to build defences. It is the management that has been heavily criticised, with much anger directed at the agency's Chair Lord Smith, who received a hostile reception on a visit to the flood hit villages this week. Today, the Environment Agency is expected to begin a major flood alleviation project to send some of the water down the River Parrett and into relief channels. It is hoped this will divert water away from badly-affected areas like Moorland and Burrowbridge, but residents of villages along the relief channels have expressed concerns about the plan.

 

Ron And Jude Smith live in Aller and have been flooded four times since Christmas. They said: "It's an ambitious plan and if it works and the water goes where it should then great, but if it goes wrong, our village is going to get hit badly." Aller Parish Council warned residents of the works online, writing: "We will be doing this in a controlled manner, with staff located at key sites, and will continue to monitor the situation 24 hours a day." Royal Marines are likely to help complete a large blockade of bastions in the village tomorrow before the waters are diverted.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1208838/environment-agency-slammed-for-success-claim

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UK floods: Council calls for money to keep rail lines open

 

A Devon council is calling for more government funding to improve rail lines after all routes into the West country were cut off. Rachel Sutton, acting leader of Exeter City Council, said "significant" new money was needed to keep routes open. Flooding and a landslip blocked three lines in Somerset on Saturday, cutting off Devon and Cornwall from the UK network. The lines remain closed. Weather and flood warnings are still in place for much of the south-west UK. Ms Sutton said rail lines were blocked near Exeter 12 months ago because of flooding and government funding was needed to protect lines which were "vulnerable in a number of places". "The local authorities can't do this on their own, particularly when we're having to cut back because of cuts to our grant from central government," she said.

 

Network Rail said a landslip at Crewkerne and flooding near Bridgwater and Athelney meant there were "no routes to the West Country open to trains". It said the Yeovil-Exeter line at Crewkerne would be closed for "at least a week", and it was "too early to say" when the Bridgwater section would reopen.  "The floods are currently being blown into waves by the high winds in the area, which are washing away the stones the track rests on," a spokesman said on Saturday. "The route via Athelney is under water but will be assessed as soon as the flood level drops." In Dawlish, where the main line between Devon and Cornwall was destroyed by waves on Tuesday, concrete has been sprayed on to the cliff behind the track to make the area safer in the face of continuing high winds and large waves.

 

Network Rail said work at the site was "progressing well" in six-hour shifts in between high tides. However, Dan Panes from First Great Western said the weather was hampering efforts to repair the track. He added that it was going to take four to six weeks to sort out, however that timescale was changing each day due to the weather conditions. "As soon as we get the green light from them [Network Rail] we'll be running our services again but it's a tough time for Network Rail at the moment," he said. Strong winds and heavy showers affected much of the UK, especially southern areas, on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday, with gusts up to 80mph on the coasts of Cornwall, the Bristol Channel and west Wales.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26106290

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