England

Storm Katie: Flights cancelled and property damaged

A crane that was bent backwards at a construction site in Greenwich Image copyright PA
Image caption A crane was bent over by winds in Greenwich, south-east London

Storm Katie has battered large parts of England, leaving flights cancelled, property damaged and thousands of people without power.

Flights bound for Gatwick and Heathrow were diverted to other airports and dozens were cancelled as gusts of up to 106mph hit the south of the country.

More than 200,000 homes were without power at the height of the winds, with thousands still awaiting reconnection.

A kayaker is feared dead after he capsized in the River Wey, Surrey.

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Surrey Police said the man had overturned at about 13:10 BST when the river was flooded, and "a large number of officers" were searching for him.

The Environment Agency issued 20 flood warnings and about 120 alerts across England in response to what it said were "rapidly rising" river levels in the wake of the storm.

High winds from the storm left power lines damaged, with about 27,000 homes in England and Wales still without electricity at 17:00.

Many properties will remain without electricity until Tuesday because of the scale of the damage, power firms have said.

Travel disruption included the closure of Dartford River Crossing and M48 Severn Bridge - which has now reopened - and delays to several train routes because of trees blown on to tracks.

Passengers on board planes arriving at Gatwick Airport described their "absolutely terrifying" experiences as pilots had to abandon landings at the last minute.

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Media captionFootage reveals the extent of the damage caused by Storm Katie's ferocious winds
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Part of the roof of a pub in Battersea collapsed during the storm
Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption Members of the London Fire Brigade assess the damage at The Duchess pub

Dan Prance, who was on a flight from Budapest, said his plane was "dropping suddenly and swinging left to right" before the pilot "suddenly aborted the landing".

He said some passengers "began being ill and sick" as a result, but there was "a full round of applause and people crying" when the plane finally landed in Birmingham.

Arnon Woolfson, whose plane was also diverted to Birmingham, described his flight as "pretty hairy" as the plane was "not just going up and down, it was going sideways" during an attempted landing in Gatwick.

Planes diverted from Gatwick, which had all been due to land after midnight, were also sent to Liverpool, Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands.

A spokeswoman said 26 flights had been cancelled and 23 diverted. Heathrow cancelled 61 flights and diverted another 20.

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Media captionSouthern parts of the UK faced Easter travel chaos as Katie unleashed gales and heavy rain, as Ben Rich reports
Image copyright Sue Abel
Image caption A gust of wind dumped a stable into the front of a house in Alderney
Image copyright PA/@NinoAuricchio
Image caption Scaffolding collapsed following strong winds in Woodley, Reading
Image copyright Southern Electric
Image caption Trees fell on power lines in Fernhurst, West Sussex
Image copyright PA
Image caption Large waves battered the lighthouse at Newhaven in East Sussex

Winds and heavy rain started on Sunday night, with many people finding storm damage to trees, properties and building sites after they woke on Monday.

In Alderney, an entire stable was lifted by a gust of wind and dumped into the front of a house as the storm lashed the Channel Islands.

Robert Gray, who owns a bed and breakfast near where a crane collapsed in Greenwich, south-east London, said it had been an "apocalyptic storm" with winds that were "just so loud".

Image copyright chris morley
Image caption Chris Morley took this picture of a large tree brought down by the storm at Beaulieu Palace House in Hampshire
Image caption Fallen trees have damaged some homes, like this one in Rye, East Sussex
Image copyright PA
Image caption Scaffolding covers over Portsmouth's Anglican Cathedral were ripped apart by the high winds

Elsewhere in London, bricks blown from the roof of a Battersea pub were left strewn across the road in the early hours.

General manager Simon Adams said it was "very lucky it was at that time and not later on" because the street was empty and so no-one was injured.

London Fire Brigade said it had dealt with more than 110 incidents caused by the high winds. In Sussex, police say they received about 600 weather-related calls between midnight and 09:30 BST.

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Media captionRoofs were ripped off homes in the coastal town of Gosport, Hampshire
Image copyright AFP
Image caption A car in Brighton was crushed by a tree that fell during the storm
Image copyright @Peacehavenowner
Image caption A trampoline caught in the wind ended up in the middle of a road in Peacehaven, East Sussex
Image copyright South West Trains
Image caption A landslip in Templecombe has shut the railway line between Salisbury and Exeter St Davids

Sports events have also been affected. AFC Wimbledon tweeted that their match against Portsmouth had been postponed.

The QE2 Bridge at Dartford, the M48 Severn Crossing and the A38 Tamar Bridge in Cornwall were all shut for several hours causing severe congestion in surrounding areas.

Cross-Channel and Isle of Wight ferry services were subject to delays and temporary sailing restrictions were put in place at the Port of Dover.

Network Rail warned that train services between Salisbury and Exeter St Davids and Stevenage and King's Cross will be disrupted until at least the end of the day because of a landslip and power problems.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sections of Brighton's West Pier broke off during the storm
Image copyright PA
Image caption A windsurfer in Newhaven, East Sussex, makes the most of the weather conditions
Image copyright Central Motorway Police Group
Image caption Part of the M6 between junctions 13 and 14 was closed because of flooding
Image copyright Jenny Eldershaw
Image caption In Buxton, Derbyshire, residents woke to a wintry, rather than rain-lashed, scene

The strongest winds recorded were on the Isle of Wight, where gusts reached 106mph.

However, other areas of the country experienced very different conditions, with snow falling in some parts of the Midlands.

BBC Weather said Storm Katie left the British mainland late on Monday morning, moving over the southern North Sea where rigs and ships were hit by 60mph winds.

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