March 8 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes as a severe storm batters large parts of the UK.
A lorry driver died after his vehicle was blown on top of two cars in West Lothian, while another man was killed by a falling tree in Nottinghamshire.
In north Wales, lifeboat crews rescued residents from flooded home while England’s east coast is seeing the worst tidal surge in 60 years.
The Environment Agency has more than 50 severe flood warnings in place.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson - who chaired two of the government’s emergency Cobra meetings on Thursday - said the armed forces were on standby to help if necessary.
Two inshore lifeboats helped rescue 25 residents and six dogs from flooded bungalows in Rhyl, Denbighshire, while police said 300 homes had been evacuated in Port Clarence, Middlesbrough.
The storm has hit north Wales, where there has been flooding in coastal areas.
In Rhyl. the RNLI is assisting with the evacuation of residents. An Environment Agency spokesman said that in the “worst-case scenario” 6,000 properties in England and Wales could be flooded.
In addition to more than 50 severe flood warnings - meaning there could be a danger to life - the agency has more than 120 flood warnings in place.
Firefighters are evacuating 2,500 homes in Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, while in Lincolnshire, thousands from coastal areas are being evacuated to Scunthorpe.
In Lincolnshire, emergency planners say up to 18,000 homes in the Boston area could be affected by flooding.
Water is now pouring through the town’s sea defences, leading to the closure of several streets and the evacuation of vulnerable people.
Residents in Kent are also being warned of the danger of flooding.
Other developments include:
64,000 homes in Scotland, 4,000 in Northern Ireland and 6,000 in Cumbria are without power due to disruption caused by the storm
In Rhyl, around 400 properties are without power
A school in Hartlepool was closed when storm-force winds ripped away part of its roof, as was one in Doncaster
The River Tyne has burst its banks in Newcastle, forcing Newcastle Crown Court to be cleared
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Dutch airline KLM cancelled 84 continental flights from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, while around 20 were cancelled at Hamburg airport.
Also, in the Netherlands - where 27% of the country lies below sea level - the landmark Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier has been closed off for the first time in six years.
Wildlife wardens in Lincolnshire are preparing to protect seal pups from high tides after dozens died in a tidal surge two years ago.
In some places sea levels could be as high as those during the devastating floods of 1953 - although flood defences built since then meant many parts of the country were now better protected, the Environment Agency said.