25 Dec 2013

Storms cause chaos in UK, France

11:43 am on 25 December 2013

Hurricane force winds and heavy rain have lashed Britain and France, killing six people, causing widespread travel disruption and cutting power to thousands of homes.

Winds of up to 145 km/h hit both sides of the English Channel with heavy downpours causing flooding, traffic jams, and the cancellations of rail, flight and ferry services, Reuters reports.

The town centre of Morlaix, in Brittany, was flooded.

The town centre of Morlaix, in Brittany, was flooded. Photo: AFP

In Britain, the number of people killed in the two days of storms rose to at least five after a man died trying to rescue his dog from fast-flowing waters in Devon, south-west England. A teenager died in France on Monday after a wall collapsed on him.

Airports in southern England were disrupted, with some flights from Britain's busiest airport, Heathrow, cancelled or delayed.

British train operators cancelled hundreds of services on Tuesday morning, by which time the storm had abated, leaving hundreds of thousands of people scrambling to get onto later services in and out of London.

Brittany and Normandy were among the regions worst hit in France, where 240,000 homes lost electricity, while in southern England, 150,000 homes were cut off from the power grid, according to the Energy Networks Association.

Conditions were expected to ease throughout the course of Christmas Day, but Britain's weather forecasting agency has warned of more stormy weather after Boxing Day.