Gales of up to 80 miles per hour and heavy rain lashed southern
England and Wales overnight, Britain's Met Office said, while severe
flood warnings remained in place for much of southern and central
parts of Britain.
More than 141,000 people have been left without power after high
winds brought down power lines, the Energy Networks Association
which represents energy companies said.
A 49-year-old woman died in the central London district of Holborn
late on Friday after part of a building collapsed on the car she was
driving, British police said.
In the English Channel, an 85-year-old man died when a cruise ship
carrying 1,084 passengers and crew was hit by a large wave during
rough seas, the ship's operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages said. The
ship was heading to her home port of Tilbury, southeast England
after a 42-night voyage.
Emergency services rescued 32 diners from a beachfront restaurant in
Milford on Sea, on England's south coast, after the building was hit
by a strong tidal surge and high winds. No one was injured, police
The Met Office said Friday's weather was likely to be the last of
the series of violent storms that have crossed the country in recent
weeks, with the weather set to improve through the weekend. However,
Britain's Environment Agency said flooding risk would continue for
at least another week.
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Parts of southwest England have been underwater for weeks after
heavy rain in February followed the wettest January in nearly 250
years. More recently, areas along the River Thames to the west of
London, an important economic corridor, have been inundated, forcing
many from their homes.
The floods have submerged crops and destroyed cattle bedding and
feed, threatening to hit production of crops and meat for months or
even years, farmers have warned.
The government, which has been criticized for reacting too slowly to
the floods, has pledged to spend whatever is needed for the relief
Speaking after a meeting of the government's emergency committee on
Friday, communities minister Eric Pickles said work was continuing
to keep road and rail networks operating.
"All agencies are working effectively together on the ground, and
where needed, extra police and military personal are being made
available," he said.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by David Evans)
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