Power back for thousands of homes after storms in England

A van is recovered from the side of the A1 near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire
Image caption Gale-force winds blew over vehicles and caused travel disruption

Engineers have restored power to thousands of homes and businesses in England after the country was battered by winds of more than 100mph.

At one stage on Thursday, about 16,000 properties were cut off across a swathe of England stretching from Staffordshire to Buckinghamshire.

But by midnight fewer than 80 addresses were still waiting to be reconnected.

Engineers at Western Power Distribution said work was carrying on to help those still without power.

The company also said about 7,500 of its 2.5 million customers in south-west England saw power cuts at times on Thursday because of the weather.

"We have been rather battered by the weather," said a spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, a woman and 10-year-old boy were taken to hospital after a tree fell on their car in Shenley, Hertfordshire.

The woman and boy suffered minor injuries, the East of England Ambulance Service said.

Fire crews had to cut two women free from their car after a tree fell on to it in Eaglescliffe on Teesside. Neither of the women was seriously hurt.

Two people suffered minor injuries when a window of a train was smashed by falling cables on the Ely to Littleport line in Cambridgeshire.

In Warwickshire, the crew and passengers of a train helped move a tree blown across a railway line.

Firefighters in Chingford, east London, rescued residents who became trapped inside a house after a tree fell on the building.

A spokeswoman said: "Two fire engines, a fire rescue unit and around 15 firefighters attended the incident.

"They used a saw to cut away some branches and four people were then able to leave the house."

Flood warnings

London Fire Brigade said it was among a string of wind-related incidents across the capital overnight, where gusts also blew a wind turbine in Barking, east London, and scaffolding in Tavistock Square, central London, into "precarious positions".

A school in Norfolk was closed after severe winds blew solar panels off the roof, with one smashing through the glass ceiling of the boys' toilets.

Several of the 100 panels being fitted to the main building at Acle High School were blown off by gusts overnight.

Two other schools in Norfolk have also been closed due to power cuts caused by wind damage.

Hilbre High School in Wirral, Merseyside, will be shut until Monday after high winds damaged its corrugated metal roof.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said it received 33 weather-related calls between 18:00 GMT on Wednesday and 14:30 GMT on Thursday and at least eight calls involved fallen trees.

North Yorkshire Police urged motorists to make only essential journeys as the whole county experienced "severe weather" while fire and rescue services have dealt with flooding at homes in the Skipton area.

Gale-force winds forced the closure of the QEII Bridge, which links the M25 between Essex and Kent, for the second time this week. The bridge has since reopened.

The Environment Agency has issued number of flood warnings in England.

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