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Woman is killed as caravan is blown over cliff edge as Storm Ali hits UK and Ireland

The scene in Claddaghduff, near Clifden in Co Galway where a woman died after her caravan was blown off a cliff. Photo Niall Carson/PA Wire.
The scene in Claddaghduff, near Clifden in Co Galway where a woman died after her caravan was blown off a cliff. Photo Niall Carson/PA Wire.
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Two people have been killed and two seriously injured as the UK and Ireland begin the clear-up in the aftermath of Storm Ali which saw wind speeds top 100mph in some parts.

Today's weather saw fatalities, several injuries and major disruption to the transport networks as 999 services battled through the elements.

Emergency crews were called on to search the beach at Claddaghduff, near Clifden in Co Galway after a caravan was lifted by strong winds and blown down a 15 ft incline, killing a woman inside.

Tributes to the as-yet unnamed woman were led by the Irish President Michael D Higgins who said: “As President of Ireland, may I express my deepest condolences to her family.

“I would also take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those, in statutory and voluntary organisations around the country, who are helping and stand ready to assist their fellow citizens, and who are working to maintain essential services around the country.”

More than 250,000 homes and businesses across Ireland were without power last night as a result of Storm Ali. Ireland’s electricity network, ESB Networks said that 186,000 homes, businesses and farms had been left without power, with the most impacted in Cavan, Sligo, Donegal, Castlebar and Galway.

As the storm continued to rage into the afternoon, a man died after being hit by a tree as he worked in a country park. A second man was injured during the incident at Slieve Gullion Park in County Armagh.

It is understood the men were doing contract work for Northern Ireland Water.

The man who died was aged in his 20s, official reports said. The injured man, aged in his 40s, was taken to hospital. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the incident was being investigated by the region’s Health and Safety Executive.

In Cheshire a woman was seriously injured after a tree fell onto her car in Tarporley.

A spokesman for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews were called at just after 1.30pm this afternoon when the tree fell on the car, trapping her inside.

Firefighters worked with a tree surgeon to help remove the tree before cutting the roof of the vehicle off and freeing the woman. She was taken to hospital by air ambulance.

In Scotland, emergency services were called to rescue a man who became trapped beneath a digger in a river during strong winds at Rogart in the Highlands.

More than 70,000 homes have been left without power across Scotland.

Gusts of 102.2mph hit the Tay Road Bridge in Dundee at 3pm, according to readings from bridge equipment.

Elsewhere, tug boats were called to the Nautica cruise ship which slipped its berth in Greenock. Strong winds saw the vessel – which had 478 passengers and 26 crew – leave the dock after its mooring lines parted. There have been no reports of injuries.

A section of Princes Street in Edinburgh was closed after parts of a shop roof flew off in strong winds.

While Scotland and Ireland bore the brunt of Storm Ali, other parts of the UK were told to brace themselves for wet and windy weather.

North Yorkshire Police dealt with more than 80 instances of road disruption in four hours yesterday afternoon with calls about obstructions caused by fallen trees and signs, or damaged vehicles.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said last night: “We have been working extremely hard this afternoon, taking calls and ensuring road users across the county stay safe.”

A Met Office spokesperson said unsettled weather is due to last the week, but an improvement is expected early next week as drier weather is set to take hold.