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Two killed and holiday travel disrupted as storm lashes UK

Source: Reuters - Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:29 PM
Author: Reuters
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LONDON, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Two people were killed and holiday plans for thousands of Britons disrupted on one of the busiest travel days of the year on Monday when hurricane-force winds and torrential rains swept across Britain, causing flooding and power cuts.

Winds of up to 85 miles (135 kms) per hour hit Britain on Monday, with heavy downpours causing rivers to flood, traffic bottlenecks, and rail, flight and ferry services to be cancelled.

Police said a man, 48, drowned in the Rothay River near Ambleside, Cumbria, in northern England, after falling into the river trying to save his dog, which survived. They advised people not to enter the local rivers or lakes as the waters were fast moving and dangerous.

A woman's body was found in a river in Bethesda, Gwynedd, in North Wales on the edge of Snowdonia national park after she apparently fell in, police said.

Up to 5,000 homes in the country's southwest were left without power after overhead electricity lines were damaged but services were quickly restored.

The Environment Agency that issues flood warnings said flooding was expected to affect much of the country on Monday night with 250 flood alerts, 80 flood warnings and one severe flood warning in place.

"Tragically people die because they've taken risks and attempted to drive through flood water just to save a few minutes. Flood water is dangerous. If there is widespread flooding in your area then don't travel," said David Jordan, director of operations at the Environment Agency.

Airports in the south of Britain were also disrupted with some flights from London's Heathrow Airport cancelled and Southampton and Bristol Airports forced to cancel flights due to the high winds.

The disruption was expected to continue on Tuesday with railway services warning passengers to expect delays and some cancellations. (Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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