Storms return to batter UK as thousands without power

Gareth and Sarah from Surrey, whose house flooded: "It is quite devastating... but it is just a house"

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Gales and rain have returned to the UK, causing further disruption to transport and the power network.

More than 6,000 UK homes remain without electricity - with some of those who have been cut off since Christmas Eve expressing anger at the situation.

Met Office yellow warnings - meaning "be aware" - for wind and rain have now expired with stormy weather subsiding.

About 50 flood warnings remain in place in England, Wales and Scotland.

Rail services have been disrupted, while road closures have been reported around the UK because of uprooted trees.

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A 109mph gust of wind was recorded at Aberdaron on the Llŷn Peninsula in north Wales on Thursday night.

A gust of 102mph was recorded at the same location on Friday morning, while gusts faster than 80mph were recorded at several other places in Wales and St Bees Head in Cumbria.

BBC Weather presenter Tomasz Schafernaker said current gusts on Irish Sea coastal areas were 60-70mph, while gusts of 50-60mph were being measured inland in northern England and southern Scotland.

"Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, often hit by gales, has been calm today with 10mph winds. It's been in the 'eye' of the UK storm," he added.

'Do better'

Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the village of Yalding in Kent, which experienced severe flooding on Christmas Eve, and was confronted by resident Ericka Olivares who said her local council had done "nothing" to help villagers because staff were "on their holidays".

Speaking later to the BBC, she said she was "annoyed" because Mr Cameron's visit did not help those affected by the weather.

She said her power had been cut off since Christmas Eve and she contacted the council and the Environment Agency to ask for help - such as sandbags to hold back flood water - and been "fobbed off".

"The emergency services, they turned up today [with the prime minister]. Where were they when we needed anything on Christmas Eve?"

A resident of Yalding complains to David Cameron about the fact she still does not have electricity

Mr Cameron said the severity of flooding in the area made it difficult to ensure homes were protected.

"Sometimes these are very, very tragic events. It is impossible to protect everybody against everything but we have got to do more and we have got to do better."

Earlier he had tweeted: "An enormous thank you to the @EnvAgency and emergency services who are doing an amazing job with the floods and extreme weather."

The Christmas barbecue

Barbara Brown, from Haywards Heath in West Sussex, said her electricity went off on Monday night.

Looking on the bright side, she said her family was "lucky" because they had "time to plan" for cooking Christmas dinner without an oven.

Putting up a tarpaulin to keep their makeshift outdoor kitchen dry, they used two camping gas stoves, a charcoal barbecue and a gas barbecue to make the meal.

"We put the turkey on a barbecue with a lid and tried to pretend to roast it with charcoal," Mrs Brown said.

"We boiled our potatoes and parsnips then tried to brown them by frying them. We couldn't boil the Christmas pudding though because we didn't want to use the gas."

Her verdict on the meal? It was "fine" - in fact it was "very nice".

But the power is still off and - despite her ingenuity - Mrs Brown admitted life by candlelight was "wearing thin".

Following the meeting he tweeted that the village's residents had "shown real spirit".

Tom Greatrex, Labour's shadow energy minister, said Mr Cameron had "serious questions to answer" about why it was taking "so long" to reconnect people's electricity.

"It is now four days since the storm hit and thousands of households are still without power," he said.

'A challenge'

At 19:00 GMT, the Energy Networks Association said 4,500 homes in England and Wales were still without power.

Most of the homes that have been without electricity since Christmas Eve are thought to be in south-east England.

The association's Tony Glover said the experiences of people without power were "horrendous" but the companies were working "incredibly hard, around the clock" to get them reconnected.

UK Power Networks, which maintains power supplies to areas including Kent, Sussex and parts of Surrey, said more than 1,500 homes cut off since Christmas Eve in those counties were still without power.

Scottish Power said supplies had been restored to all but 350 of its customers in Dumfries and Galloway, while Northern Ireland Electricity said the figure was about 1,500 there.

Robin Gisby explains why rail companies are operating reduced services across the UK after storms have battered many parts of the UK

Caroline St Clare Grondona, from Chiddingfold in Surrey, said SSE had been "useless" since her power was cut off on Monday.

"They are providing no information and we are not even appearing on their list of homes without power," she said.

"The fridge and freezer have defrosted so there is a lot of thawed out food. Christmas Day was spent with my sister but since then we've been stuck at home."

An SSE spokesman said 800 homes in its area of southern England were still cut off - mostly in "rural pockets" - and staff would keep working until all were reconnected.

Landrover in Lingfield Roads, like this one in Lingfield, Surrey, have been flooded across the UK
Flooded garden in Byfleet This garden in Byfleet, Surrey, is next to one of the 1,200 properties the Environment Agency said had flooded so far
Landslip Buses replaced trains between Haslemere in Surrey and Petersfield in Hampshire after this landslip next to the line
River Medway floods The River Medway in Kent is one of those with high levels at present
Tree in East Peckham The prime minister has expressed his thanks to the emergency services who have been dealing with the storm
mayobridge roof damage The roof of a home in Mayobridge, County Down was destroyed by a falling electricity pylon

The Environment Agency said rainfall on Thursday night was less than expected, with about 10mm in the South East. It has had reports of about 1,200 properties flooding so far.

Strong winds caused an electricity pylon to crash into two homes in County Down on Thursday night.

Meanwhile:

  • In the Republic of Ireland, Dublin Airport had to divert six planes overnight because of "high winds gusting across both runways"
  • On the roads, various incidents and delays have been caused by high winds and flooding
  • Virgin Trains warned of delays and disruption because of strong winds and rain
  • Most Southeastern train services were running but the company said there was still some disruption
  • Arriva Trains Wales services between Holyhead and Llandudno Junction were delayed by up to 20 minutes
  • South West Trains said it had cleared over 140 fallen trees in the last three days. Also, as a result of severe landslip, a bus replacement service was running between Haslemere in Surrey and Petersfield in Hampshire
  • Cumbria Police said a property in Barrow had partially collapsed because of high winds, but all occupants got out

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