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Driver killed by falling tree as Storm Ciara winds battered UK

Weather warnings for wind, snow and ice have been issued across large parts of the country.

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A man was killed in the incident (Simon Cooper/PA)

A man was killed in the incident (Simon Cooper/PA)

A man was killed in the incident (Simon Cooper/PA)

A driver was killed after a tree fell on to his car as the fierce winds of Storm Ciara battered the UK.

The 58-year-old man, from Micheldever, in Hampshire, was pronounced dead at the scene on the A33 after the tree toppled as he was driving his Mercedes from Winchester to Micheldever just before 4pm on Sunday.

A Hampshire Police statement said: “His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.”

Weather warnings for wind, snow and ice have been issued across large parts of the country as the UK struggles to recover from the battering from Storm Ciara.

The Met Office also said that “a spell of very strong winds,” with gusts of 60-70mph, is expected across southern England on Monday, bringing likely delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport.

A yellow warning for heavy snow and strong winds is in place for Northern Ireland and most of Scotland and a yellow warning of snow and ice is in force for north west England throughout Monday and Tuesday.

A yellow warning for wind in the south is in place between 10am and 5pm on Monday.

Forecasters said some areas could see blizzards and a build-up of up to 20cm of snow.

There were also 107 flood warnings and 252 flood alerts in place across the country as of 11am.

It came as more than 20,000 homes were left without power overnight as Storm Ciara whipped across the country. Western Power Distribution –  which covers the West Midlands, East Midlands,  the south west and south Wales –  said that as of 8am on Monday that 2,000 homes were without supply.

WEATHER Storm
(PA Graphics)

Heavy downpours and wind saw a huge sinkhole open up in a garden in Belfield, Rochdale. Amanda Webster spotted turf falling down into a big sinkhole which had flowing water at the bottom.

A motorist had a lucky escape when their Toyota car went into a sinkhole in Hatch Road, in Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, Essex, where six properties had to be evacuated due to the unstable ground.

A partially collapsed sewer had been reported to Essex Country Fire and Rescue Service in the early hours. The emergency services made the scene safe just before 4am.

Network Rail  said that thousands of its engineers had “battled horrendous conditions” throughout Sunday and overnight into Monday in a bid to clear tracks and repair damage after strong winds blew tress, sheds, roofs and trampolines and other debris on to the railway on Sunday, blocking tracks and bringing down overhead power lines.

The West Coast Main Line is suspended between Carlisle and Glasgow due to flooding at Caldew Viaduct, Cumbria.

Winter weather Feb 10th 2020
The floodwaters surrounding a property on Sunday (top) and the residents cleaning up the damage on Monday (bottom) in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Passengers have been warned that rail replacement buses will be extremely busy.

Speed restrictions are in place on several routes that are open, meaning journeys are taking longer than normal and frequencies are reduced.

Airlines operating to and from UK airports continue to be affected by the weather conditions, with more than 100 flights cancelled.

British Airways and easyJet appeared to be the worst affected, although several other airlines also cancelled flights.

By 10.30am, some 32 of Heathrow’s Monday departures were cancelled, equivalent to 5% of flights, and a further 61 were delayed by at least 15 minutes.

Winter weather Feb 10th 2020
Staff clear up flood damage at the Co-op store in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Parts of the West Yorkshire communities of Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, which was devastated by flooding four years ago, were also deluged.

River levels peaked on Sunday just below the record levels of the 2015 Boxing Day floods which caused millions of pounds of damage to houses and businesses right along the Calder Valley.

More than £30 million has been spent on flood defences in Mytholmroyd since the 2015 deluge.

Early reports from the village were that some of the new defences held but many homes were still inundated.

Flooding affected large sections of the River Calder and River Aire in West Yorkshire.

My road 😳

Posted by Amanda Webster on Sunday, February 9, 2020

Further downstream, the main bridge at Elland has been closed for structural assessments after a large shipping container hit it and lodged underneath.

Martin Slater of the Environment Agency told BBC Radio Leeds: “As the rain that fell yesterday moves down the River Aire catchment and the River Calder it will be going through Leeds overnight and today.

“So we do ask people to remain vigilant and stay away from rivers.”

Mr Slater added: “The catchments are really saturated and there’s not places for any future rain to go, so we do ask people to be really careful.

“Some of our measuring devices recorded around about 100mm rain in a 12 to 18-hour period so that’s a lot of rain falling in a very short period of time.”

PA