Gales and heavy rain bring chaos as cold air sweeps across North

Water woes: Drivers battle through flooded roads in the Yorkshire Dales.
Water woes: Drivers battle through flooded roads in the Yorkshire Dales.
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A COMBINATION of gales and heavy rain brought misery to UK travellers and cut the power supply of thousands of homes.

High winds, flooding, fallen trees and unsafe buildings have led to road closures, bridge restrictions and cancelled rail services during 24 hours of extreme weather.

A van driver died when a tree fell on top his vehicle in Co Antrim and a three-year-old child and an elderly woman were among three people hurt when a pallet was blown from a lorry in east Belfast.

Snow up to 5ft deep in parts of Scotland left some drivers stranded overnight on the A9 route to the Highlands and forced the cancellation of trains between Perth and Inverness.

Around 5,000 homes and businesses are without power in Northern Ireland and engineers are working to reconnect 2,100 properties in Dumfries and Galloway.

About 750 homes were cut off in Wales, where a tornado hit Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire on Wednesday.

Trees blown down on the line held up rail commuters in Kent and in Birmingham high winds blew debris from a derelict pub onto the road, causing rush-hour diversions.

In Glasgow, a section of Bath Street in the city centre was closed after metal sheeting fell from the roof of a hotel. Part of Potterrow in Edinburgh was cordoned off after cladding on the roof of a building came loose in the high winds.

A caravan was blown over on the A66 trans-Pennine route from County Durham to Cumbria.

The Met Office reported winds of 101mph in Great Dunsell, Cumbria – the highest across the UK yesterday – while other exposed areas also recorded speeds well in excess of 70mph.

Forecasters issued a cold weather alert for much of England from 6pm yesterday until noon on Monday, with icy conditions expected in the North in particular.

The Met Office said: “Increasingly cold air will spread from the north-west across England during Friday, with showers turning more wintry from the north.

“Average temperatures are expected to continue falling through the weekend, with a northerly airstream likely to be established by Sunday.”