Large waves hit the lighthouse and harbour at high tide at Newhaven in Sussex, southern England. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Two people were killed and 32 people were rescued from a
seaside restaurant as storms and strong winds battered
Britain, adding more misery to areas already hit by
widespread flooding and transport chaos.
Gales of up to 129kmh and heavy rain lashed southern England
and Wales overnight, Britain's Met Office said, while severe
flood warnings remained in place for much of southern and
central parts of Britain.
More than 141,000 people have been left without power after
high winds brought down power lines, the Energy Networks
Association which represents energy companies said.
A 49-year-old woman died in the central London district of
Holborn late on Friday (local time) after part of a building
collapsed on the car she was driving, British police said.
In the English Channel, an 85-year-old man died when a cruise
ship carrying 1,084 passengers and crew was hit by a large
wave during rough seas, the ship's operator Cruise &
Maritime Voyages said. The ship was heading to her home port
of Tilbury, southeast England after a 42-night voyage.
Emergency services rescued 32 diners from a beachfront
restaurant in Milford on Sea, on England's south coast, after
the building was hit by a strong tidal surge and high winds.
No-one was injured, police said.
The Met Office said Friday's weather was likely to be the
last of the series of violent storms that have crossed the
country in recent weeks, with the weather set to improve
through the weekend. However, Britain's Environment Agency
said flooding risk would continue for at least another week.
Parts of southwest England have been underwater for weeks
after heavy rain in February followed the wettest January in
nearly 250 years. More recently, areas along the River Thames
to the west of London, an important economic corridor, have
been inundated, forcing many from their homes.
The floods have submerged crops and destroyed cattle bedding
and feed, threatening to hit production of crops and meat for
months or even years, farmers have warned.
The government, which has been criticised for reacting too
slowly to the floods, has pledged to spend whatever is needed
for the relief effort.
Speaking after a meeting of the government's emergency
committee on Friday, communities minister Eric Pickles said
work was continuing to keep road and rail networks operating.
"All agencies are working effectively together on the ground
and where needed extra police and military personal are being
made available," he said.