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Winter weather: Thousands without power after gales hit UK

 

Around 24,600 homes and businesses are without power as severe gales brought disruption to much of the UK.

A further 130,000 properties in eastern England have had power restored after gusts of up to 83mph (134 kph) damaged power lines, UK Power Networks said.

Across the country, high winds brought down trees and power cables, blocked transport links and damaged homes.

A new snow and ice warning is in place for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England until Friday night.

Norfolk is among the worst affected, with 20,800 properties still without power.

But while wind speeds have already started to drop, forecasters said the wintry conditions would continue in north western parts.

The Met Office warned of travel delays and power cuts, saying some rural communities may become cut off.

National Rail said high winds had damaged overhead power lines between Stowmarket and Norwich, blocking the line between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.

Services on the route are expected to be disrupted for the rest of Thursday.

Some of the strongest gusts were seen in Tibenham, Norfolk (83mph) and in Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula (78mph).

More than 1,800 properties are without power across Wales, south-west England and the Midlands, according to Western Power Distribution.

 

A brick gable was blown off a house in the Stoke Heath area of Coventry overnight but West Midlands Fire Service said no one was injured

Lincolnshire Police appealed to the public to help remove more than 80 trees blown down overnight, asking people to call 101 if they had “the equipment and relevant training to help with moving these trees”

In Sydenham, south east London, a train hit a tree

Until 05:00 GMT, drivers in Scotland and northern England were warned not to travel at all, the first such warning issued since high winds in January 2013. The warning was later downgraded

In Suffolk, the Orwell Bridge on the A14 was shut until 09:00 GMT due to high winds

In Scotland, 35cm (14in) of snow was recorded in the village of Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway.

A number of vehicles – including jack-knifed lorries – got stuck on the A75 Euroroute in the Dumfries and Gatehouse of Fleet area on Wednesday night but it was fully reopened by the morning.

Scottish Borders Council said no schools would open on Thursday, affecting 15,000 pupils.