Storm Eleanor: Huge clean-up under way as 100mph gusts batter UK

3 January 2018, 12:49

The UK is reeling from 100mph winds caused by Storm Eleanor which brought down trees, power lines and caused widespread disruption.

Homes and businesses were left without power, including 55,000 properties in the Republic of Ireland, 20,000 customers in Northern Ireland and about 2,500 properties between Cornwall and the Midlands.

Western Power Distribution said the outages were largely due to flying debris, and that work had been ongoing since Tuesday night to restore power to people's homes.

Widespread disruption is expected throughout Wednesday after the storm swept across the country overnight carrying heavy rain, hail and dramatic thunder and lightning.

A yellow warning of wind was extended for all of England and Wales, most of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Borders until 7pm on Wednesday after an amber warning was put in place for the early hours.

Several roads and bridges were closed due to high winds and obstructions in the road, including the M25.

One man was injured in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales, when a tree fell on his car, the Welsh Ambulance Service said.

In England, another falling tree injured two men overnight when it crashed into their car, Hampshire Police said.

Overturned vehicles forced closures on the A1M near Hatfield in Hertfordshire, the M6 near Lancaster and M5 near Worcester.

An object in overhead lines between London Paddington and Hayes reduced the number of trains leaving the major hub.

Power outages halted rail services between Letchworth Garden City and Cambridge.

The Met Office said gusts of 100mph were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria at 1am, while wind speeds reached 90mph at Orlock Head in Northern Ireland on Tuesday evening.

Gusts of up to 89mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight at around midnight.

In Northolt, northwest London, speeds of up to 73mph were recorded and 77mph gusts were felt in High Bradfield, South Yorkshire.

People living next to railway lines were urged to secure their outdoor belongings after two trampolines were blown on to tracks.

Mark Killick, chief operating officer for Network Rail's London North Western route, said: "It is incredible to think that a trampoline could fly through the air on to the railway but here we have not one but two at the same location.

"This is an ongoing problem for us which poses an obvious safety hazard and inconvenience to passengers."

The eye of Storm Eleanor is now crossing the North Sea, but strong winds are still expected for the rest of the day.

Meteorologist Becky Mitchell said: "Storm Eleanor has swept through and the eye is now crossing the North Sea, although there will continue to be strong gusts through the day.

"We have seen some heavy showers push through across the south of the UK along with hail, loud thunder and lightning, which has woken people up."