At least 61,000 properties are still without power as Britain’s starts to recover from chaos caused by the St Jude’s storm
- In total 600,000 lost electricity because of hurricane-force gusts but ten per cent are waiting to be reconnected
- Majority of southern England had problems but Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Essex are the worst areas affected
- 17-year-old Bethany Freeman died after a tree fell onto the static home she was sleeping in at Hever, Kent
- Donal Drohan, 51, also killed in Watford, Hertfordshire, after his car was crushed during morning rush hour
- Gas explosion triggered after tree fell on a main kills man and woman at home in Hounslow, west London
- Transport chaos believed to be over with majority of rail firms resuming normal service this morning
At least 61,000 households are still without power today as Britain began to recover after the deadly ten-hour St Jude’s storm tore through leaving a trail of destruction.
Engineers have worked through the night to reconnect 100,000 homes in southern counties after the hurricane-force winds wrecked cables and pylons.
The gusts of up to 99mph left 600,000 properties without electricity, but around 10 per cent are still without, with some residents complaining there has been a lack of information about when they will be reconnected.
Recovery: Engineers have worked through the night to reconnect 100,000 homes in southern counties after the hurricane-force winds destroyed cables and pylons.
Hundreds of villagers in Great Bardfield, Essex, have been without power since 7am yesterday, forcing them to use candlelight and gas stoves overnight.
‘I would have liked an update from the power companies so we could tell people when they will be getting it back, but sadly I’ve been unable to do that,’ chair of the parish council Janet Dyson said.
Power companies have said they are not sure when the affected homes will have access to power again as they deal with each case on an individual basis.
Technicians from the north have been brought in to help repair damage power lines and engineers are working in the extreme conditions to reconnect people’s homes.
Five times the number of engineers are on duty and people have been told to keep their fridges closed and listen to portable radios to keep updated.
Now the weather has cleared, helicopters have been sent to some parts of the country to assess the damage to the power grids and determine which areas need the most attention.
Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Essex are the worst areas affected.
Britain faces further disruption today following the most powerful storm to hit Britain in years.
The authorities continue to clear away debris and fallen trees.
A 17-year-old girl was among four people killed as hurricane-force winds battered England and Wales, leaving a trail of destruction.
Dubbed St Jude after the patron of lost causes, the storm caused transport disruption on road, rail, air and sea, and power cuts for hundreds of thousands of homes.
National Rail said it was not yet able to say how services will be affected today but urged travellers to check with their train operator, while ferry services from Dover are still delayed because of rough seas.
The storm, which is now over Scandinavia, will today be replaced with far lighter winds and rain, but dozens of areas in southern England still remain on flood alert, The Environment Agency said.
Insurers are counting the cost of the storm but say it is too early to tell whether it will compare with the multibillion-pound hits caused by previous severe weather events.
Initial estimates of the level of financial damage wrought are not expected until later this week, the Association of British Insurers said.
Tragedies: Dylan Alkins, 14, is understood to have been swept out to sea and 51-year-old Donal Drohan from Harrow, right, who died today when his car was crushed
During yesterday morning, winds of up to 100mph swept through the South West, South, South East, the Midlands and the East of England after first hitting land in the early hours.
THE HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS AND TORRENTIAL RAIN BATTERING UK
1) Needles Old Battery, Isle of Wight – 99mph
2) Langdon Bay, Kent – 82mph
3) Isle of Portland, Dorset – 81mph
4) Andrewsfield, Essex – 79mph
5) Odiham, Hampshire – 78mph
1) Otterbourne, Hampshire – 50mm
2) Wychcroft, East Sussex – 45.4mm
3) Cardiff – 44.8mm
4) Hurn, Dorset – 42mm
5) Wiggonholt, West Sussex – 37.2mm
Up to 2.4 inches of rain – half the monthly average – fell in a just few hours during the storm in areas including Hampshire and Devon causing flash floods.
The devastating storm left Bethany Freeman crushed as a 30ft tree fell on the caravans she and her family were living in while renovation work was taking place at their home at Edenbridge in Kent shortly after 7am.
‘Loving husband’ and father-of-three Donal Drohan, 51, originally from Waterford in Ireland, died after his car was hit by a tree at the bridge over the River Colne in Watford.
Mr Drohan, from Harrow, west London, was ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ when his car was struck by a falling tree at Lower High Street.
In Hounslow, west London, three houses were completely destroyed and two more were damaged by an explosion, thought to have been caused by a ruptured gas main.
Officers were called to Bath Road at around 7.30am and at noon they found a man’s body at number 47 amid ‘scenes of devastation’.
An hour and a half later, a woman – whom investigators were trying to identify – was found dead at the same property.
Met Office spokeswoman Laura Young warned that the impacts from the storm are still around and urged the public to remain alert.
John Lee, a forecaster for the MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said it was the most powerful storm in years.
‘There will no doubt be some disruption still following the damage caused by strong winds and heavy rain, but the weather will be quite different,’ he said.
‘It will be blustery with some showers, especially in the west, but a lot lighter.
‘On Friday there is an indication that stormy weather could return, but it’s likely to bring heavy rain rather than strong winds.’
The port of Dover in Kent had to be shut, train and Tube services were disrupted, more than 130 flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled and many roads were impassable due to fallen trees.
Debris falling on to power lines caused a nuclear power station in Kent automatically to close down both its reactors, leaving its own diesel generators to provide power for essential safety systems.
Experts said that, while the gales were relatively weak compared with the Great Storm of 1987, it had shown how much weather predictions have improved compared with 26 years ago.
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