Gale-force winds batter south of England

A fallen tree limb crushing three cars Four cars were severely damaged when the limb of an oak tree fell in front of James Lavis's house in Christchurch
Mini covered in rubble John Finnegan photographed this Mini covered in rubble and ivy following the collapse of a stone wall in Swanage
A digger clearing Weymouth Relief Road Several trees came down on the normally-busy road between Dorchester and Weymouth, forcing its closure

Roads were blocked by fallen trees and homes are still without power after storm-force winds swept across Dorset.

Police said about 100 trees fell overnight on roads across the county.

The strongest gusts were recorded in Portland, where winds reached 80mph (129 km/h).

A four-mile stretch of the A354 Weymouth Road between Dorchester and Weymouth was closed throughout the rush-hour because of several fallen trees.

South West Trains told passengers not to travel, while Condor Ferries services to the Channel Islands were cancelled.

Crushed cars in Christchurch James Lavis had been due to drive to work but now believes his car will be an insurance write-off

Southern Electric Power Distribution said it was dealing with a large number of faults and the poor weather had hampered repairs.

About 200 extra engineers were brought in from Scotland to help restore power to affected homes across central southern England.

James Lavis, who lives in Christchurch, said three cars on his drive were crushed by the limb of an oak tree.

He said: "It landed on three cars in my drive and the next door neighbour's car as well - and there might be a little bit of damage to the house."

In Swanage, a stone wall behind the Purbeck House Hotel collapsed covering a parked car in rubble and ivy.

The majority of morning trains were cancelled as about 50 trees and other debris blocked lines across the South West Trains network. But the company said some services between Waterloo and Bournemouth had resumed by 11:00 GMT.

Police reported a high volume of calls overnight about trees obstructing roads and flooding in many areas.

In Bournemouth, cars became stranded in flood water at Durley Road South and under the Wessex Way bridge at Braidley Road.

In other developments:

  • First Great Western trains were disrupted but most services were operating by 17:00 GMT
  • Condor Ferries cancelled its Channel Islands services to and from Poole and Weymouth. Extra sailings are planned on Tuesday to allow travellers to complete their journeys

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