UK

Winter weather: Thousands without power after gales hit UK

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Media captionAn Essex pub and a play centre in Suffolk lost their roofs, while trees were uprooted in Norfolk

Engineers will work through the night to restore power to hundreds of homes, after severe gales brought disruption to much of the UK on Thursday.

More than 140,000 properties in eastern England suffered earlier power cuts after 83mph (134kph) gusts damaged power lines, UK Power Networks said.

Across the UK, high winds brought down trees and damaged homes.

A weather warning for snow and ice is in place for Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England until Friday.

In Norfolk and Suffolk, 3,500 homes are still without power.

And the Queen was left to have her tea and cakes in the dark when her annual appointment with the Sandringham WI was disrupted by a power cut.

Chairwoman Yvonne Browne, who decided to go ahead with the event despite losing heating and lighting at West Newton village hall, said the Queen was "laughing and smiling" throughout.

While wind speeds have dropped, forecasters said the wintry conditions would continue in north western parts.

The Met Office warned of further travel delays and power cuts, saying some rural communities may become cut off.

National Rail said high winds had damaged overhead power lines between Stowmarket and Norwich, blocking the line between Norwich and London Liverpool Street, disrupting services for the rest of Thursday.

Image caption A workman tackles a fallen tree in Tufnell Park, north London
Image copyright Greater Anglia
Image caption A tree blocked the train line between Ipswich and Norwich

Some of the strongest gusts were seen in Tibenham, Norfolk (83mph) and in Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula (78mph).

Hundreds of properties lost power across Wales, south-west England and the Midlands, according to Western Power Distribution.

Radio 5 Live presenter Danny Baker woke to find a tree blown down on top of his daughter's car.

Image copyright Sandy Elliott
Image caption A tree came down in East Grinstead, West Sussex, damaging a car

In other developments around the UK:

  • In mid-Wales a trainline was closed after a freight train hit two sheds which had been blown onto the track by high winds overnight
  • A brick gable was blown off a house in the Stoke Heath area of Coventry overnight but West Midlands Fire Service said no one was injured
  • Lincolnshire Police appealed to the public to help remove more than 80 trees blown down overnight, asking people to call 101 if they had "the equipment and relevant training to help with moving these trees"
  • In Sydenham, south east London, a train hit a tree
  • Until 05:00 GMT, drivers in Scotland and northern England were warned not to travel at all, the first such warning issued since high winds in January 2013. The warning was later downgraded
  • In Suffolk, the Orwell Bridge on the A14 was shut until 09:00 GMT due to high winds
Image copyright West Midlands Fire Service / PA
Image caption In Coventry, a roof was blown off a three-storey house overnight

In Scotland, 35cm (14in) of snow was recorded in the village of Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway.

A number of vehicles - including jack-knifed lorries - got stuck on the A75 Euroroute in the Dumfries and Gatehouse of Fleet area on Wednesday night but it was fully reopened by the morning.

Scottish Borders Council said no schools would open on Thursday, affecting 15,000 pupils.

Image copyright DGVost
Image caption The A75 became blocked by jacknifed lorries at a number of points including Gatehouse of Fleet
Image copyright PA
Image caption A new yellow warning of snow is in place for north western parts of the UK on Thursday and Friday

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