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The Tail-end of Hurricane Katia hits the UK in "worst storm since 1996"

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 12, 2011 01:57 PM

Published: 2011-09-12 13:57:52
Topics: Weather
Countries: United Kingdom

From reports by www.dailymail.co.uk and www.bbc.co.uk

Winds of up to 80mph have battered Britain today, causing widespread damage and power cuts in the worst storm to hit the UK in 15 years.

Power to thousands of homes in central England was knocked out as Hurricane Katia - now downgraded to a vigorous area of low pressure - hit the country. Ports around Britain have been battered by huge waves leading to the cancellation of ferries while trees have been uprooted, causing damage to cars and houses.

Forecasters issued urgent weather alerts for Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North East, North West and parts of the Midlands and Wales as the storm prepares to make its way eastwards. The high winds have been accompanied by heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued several flood alerts for inland and coastal areas.

Brittany Ferries said it was scrapping its high speed ferries on two crossings scheduled from Portsmouth to Cherbourg today. Safety regulations state that when waves reach a height of 10 feet or more the high speed crossings must not go ahead. A spokesman for the company said it hopes to have all services operating as usual by tomorrow.

Organisers of the America's Cup lifted out all the boats taking part in the international sailing competition in Plymouth, as 70mph gusts swept the Devon coast today. As the winds began rising in speed during yesterday's racing, three boats capsized while 10,000 spectators watched from the shore, and organisers decided they could not take a risk on even worse mayhem today when the storms are expected to reach a peak. By a stroke of luck, Monday and Tuesday are official rest days for the catamarans' crews anyway. Organisers said they hoped the worst weather would be over before racing commenced again on Wednesday.

An alert - which warns that flooding is possible - has been issued along the North Sea coast in Yorkshire between Bridlington and Barmston with people being told to be aware of overtopping spray and waves at high tide. High winds will continue into tomorrow before petering out on Wednesday.

Billy Payne, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "The brunt of the the wind will go through central and southern Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and North Wales. Gusts are from 60-70mph in some places, possibly higher, especially in exposed places in parts of western Scotland like the islands and hilly areas. It will be quite windy in the south (of England) too with gusts of 40-50mph. There will be quite a lot of rain, perhaps heavy outbreaks over the next couple of days. The heavy rain will be mostly confined to the north and west of Scotland today and tomorrow. There is a risk of some flooding in north-west Scotland with the high rainfall totals."

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