Man killed as storms batter UK
Published 04/02/2011 | 18:42
Britain has been battered by gales which left a man dead and caused damage and disruption to roads and buildings.
Winds of more than 100mph were recorded in Scotland, while Wales, Northern Ireland and northern England also experienced strong winds.
Forecasters said the weather pattern is set to continue overnight with a band of rain moving southwards on Saturday, along with slightly lighter winds.
A 51-year-old motorist was killed on a rural road when his car was struck by a tree uprooted by high winds in Staffordshire. The man, who has not yet been named, was driving a Mercedes Vaneo on the A458 Bridgnorth Road near Stourton at about 11.30pm on Thursday.
A police spokesman said: "In high winds, a tree on the grass verge has been uprooted and fallen across the carriageway, colliding with the vehicle. The driver received fatal injuries."
Meanwhile drivers of high-sided and other vulnerable vehicles were urged by the Highways Agency to avoid the M6 between junctions 38 and 40 in Cumbria with wind speeds gusting beyond 65mph.
In Scotland, the wind blew down trees and tore roofs from buildings, while oil workers were airlifted from a North Sea installation after several anchor chains failed in severe weather. And in Shetland - where gusts reached 93mph at 10pm on Thursday night - coastguards had to help secure a 25-metre fishing boat that broke free from its moorings.
In exposed mountain areas, wind speeds broke 115mph. The Met Office said its calculator at the top of the Cairngorms, which shuts down at this speed, went out of action for four hours on Thursday night.
Parts of northern England were also affected by the wind, with a block of flats in Leeds evacuated after its roof became loose. West Yorkshire Police also warned people living around Lombardy House to stay inside as engineers assessed the damage.
In Sheffield, the top deck of the Tinsley Viaduct - which carries the M1 over the Lower Don Valley, close to the Meadowhall Shopping Centre - was closed after a lorry was blown over as winds topped 70mph. And all parks in York were closed by the city council as a precaution due to high winds.