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Woman impaled by storm tree dies

A woman who was impaled by a branch when a tree crashed onto her car in high winds has died, police said.

West Yorkshire Police said the woman, from Pontefract, was taken to hospital after the Vauxhall Zafira she was a passenger in was hit by the tree on Aberford Road, Wakefield, but she died soon afterwards.

A man who was driving the car was also hurt in the incident at about 8.30pm on Thursday night.

The woman was taken to Pinderfield's Hospital, which is just a short distance from the scene of the crash in the suburb of Stanley. The driver was also taken Pinderfields but the spokeswoman said his injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

The incident happened as high winds and heavy rain battered many parts of the UK.

As gusts reached 100mph, aircraft had to be diverted from Leeds-Bradford airport where the wind speeds caused havoc for some incoming flights. One plane from Dublin had to switch to Liverpool after making three unsuccessful attempts to land at Leeds-Bradford, with several other domestic flights being forced to fly on to Manchester.

Worst-hit overnight were north-west England, Yorkshire and the Humber. Other parts of the country badly battered included Anglesey and Northern Ireland, where downed power lines left thousands of homes without power, while localised flooding was reported in other parts of Wales and the Isle of Wight.

In Lancashire, roads surrounding Blackpool Tower, including part of The Promenade, were closed due to damage caused by gale force winds. Police made the decision to cordon off the site after scaffolding fell to the ground from the landmark which is undergoing refurbishment. No-one was injured.

In Northern Ireland, around 5,000 people were left without electricity as severe weather disrupted power networks. Elsewhere, fire crews on the Isle of Wight dealt with flood-related incidents at about 100 homes, mostly in Ryde, following heavy rain. Flight and ferry crossings to the Isle of Man were also cancelled.

Aisling Creevey, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather company, said: "It's unusual to see sustained winds for such a long period of time. We can get strong winds for a couple of hours but it pretty much went on for 24 hours."

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