HeadLine: BATTERING OF BRITAIN
The Mirror, 30/10/2000, p1
by SHAUN MILNE
BRITAIN was last night in the grip of raging 90mph gales that could
cause more damage than the 1987 hurricane.
Flood alerts were issued with least two inches of rain predicted.
Emergency services were on standby. At sea, gales of up to Force 11
The Met Office warned: “It’s time to batten down the hatches. We’ve got
a lot of very strong winds on the way.”
Two people died yesterday in the worst storms of the year. A woman
climber fell to her death in Wales and a man died after falling
overboard from a ferry in the Irish Sea.
Six crew were airlifted from a transport ship floundering in 40ft waves
off the Hebrides. Trains hit trees in Worcestershire and Surrey.
Earlier Bognor, Sussex, was struck by a tornado.
HeadLine: FORCE OF ’87 IS BACK
The Mirror, 30/10/2000, p4&5
by SHAUN MILNE
GALES brought fresh devastation to Britain yesterday amid grim warnings
that there was worse to come.
Winds gusted up to 90mph bringing flash floods in their wake. Two
people died. Rail and ferry services were cancelled or delayed.
Once again, the south took the brunt of the battering. The chaos
followed a tornado on Saturday which is believed to have caused
millions of pounds damage.
Last night low-lying areas flooded two weeks ago were bracing
themselves for fresh torment.
By the time the 36-hour storm ends it is feared it will have caused
more havoc than the 110mph hurricane in 1987 which cost £ 1billion and
toppled 19million trees.
The Met Office said: “We’ve got another significant spell of bad
weather coming with a lot of very strong winds forecast. We’re looking
at gusts of up to 90mph.”
Among yesterday’s victims was Michael Davies, 35, of Cardiff, who died
after falling overboard from a ferry in the Irish Sea when he was
caught by a freak gust of wind.
Michael was in the water for several hours as rescuers struggled
through ferocious weather conditions.
He was finally plucked by a helicopter from Irish Rescue Services. But
he died in hospital in Wexford.
A woman died and her husband was in hospital with serious injuries
yesterday after falling down the highest waterfall in Wales.
Both slipped on wet rocks in heavy rain at the top of the 240ft tall
waterfall, Pistyll ym Rhaeadr, Powys.
The 58-year-old woman, from Grantham, Lincs, died immediately when she
plunged more than 40ft onto a rocky shelf. Her husband, 59, fell 30ft
and suffered chest injuries.
One hundred passengers were lucky to escape unhurt after a tree smashed
down on Thames Trains 16.29 Great Malvern-Paddington Sprinter.
The accident came as the four- carriage train was travelling at 60mph
after leaving Evesham station, Worcs.
One passenger, David Melling, 38, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, said:
“There was a loud bang, followed by severe juddering and all the lights
“The guard told us not to smoke as the crash had damaged the fuel tanks
and there was a fire risk.”
A second passenger train smashed into a tree brought down on the track
at East Shalford, Surrey.
Twenty fire-fighters battled to lift the tree off the rails as
passengers were led to safety. Other stayed in their carriages until
another train could get to the site.
Six men were winched to safety after their crippled transport ship, the
1,600-tonne Elektron, was hit by 40ft waves off Barra, in the Hebrides.
The vessel was already under tow after running aground. As it was
battered by the gigantic seas its cargo of trucks and other heavy
equipment broke free and careered round the deck. One truck
somersaulted over the side.
A coastguard helicopter took more than two hours to reach the scene.
The men were plucked to safety from the bucking deck by brave winchman
Chris Murray, who received whiplash injuries in the rescue.
Salvage master Wytse Huismans said later: “I don’t know how those guys
did it. They are angels.”
Flood warnings were issued in Hampshire, Sussex and parts of Kent with
at least two inches of rain predicted. In Scotland, 20 homes in
Larbert, near Stirling, were evacuated after being swamped by floods.
Two 14-year-old boy scouts were winched to safety by helicopter after
becoming stuck in a bog while hiking in the New Forest, Hants.
Two inexperienced hillwalkers were found by search teams yesterday
morning after spending the night in the Cairngorms in north east
Later, both men were brought off the mountain. One was able to walk off
while the other was airlifted.
Two boys aged eight and 12, were taken to hospital after being rescued
by lifeboat from a sandbank at Millom, Cumbria where they were cut off
by high tide. The pair, who were not named, were later released. They
were not seriously injured.
In Bognor, West Sussex, residents mounted a huge clear-up operation
after a 40ft tornado travelling at 75mph cut a mile-and-a-half swathe
of destruction through the resort.
Cars were overturned, roof lifted buildings wrecked and at least six
people injured. Two women were hurt when their caravans were blown onto
each other. One had to be cut free. Kathleen Wright, 60, said: “I heard
a loud bang. Then bricks from our neighbour’s house were catapulted at
“I saw a fence fly past the kitchen window. Then as suddenly as it
started, it was over.” We hugged each and said thank God nobody from
our street was hurt. We have never suffered anything like this.”
Paul Taber, 33,added: “I’ve never seen anything like it. The whole town
went pitch black and you could hear this awful whistling sound as the
tornado ripped through us.
“A tree in my neighbour’s garden had come crashing through our fence
and there is a car on its roof in our street.”
Emergency services had only just finished cleaning up from the flooding
two weeks ago. But fire and police services again spent the night
securing dangerous buildings and making sure people were safe.
Seventy people spent the night in emergency accommodation after the
SeaCat ferry service was cancelled between Troon and Belfast.
At Edinburgh Airport, 70mph gusts toppled a Cessna 172 onto its nose.
No-one was aboard.
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