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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Extreme weather continues to batter the U.K. -- highest wave ever measured in Irish waters -- 20.4 meters (67 ft.)

Winter storms to batter Britain all week

by Jonathan Brown, The Independent, December 14, 2011

High winds and heavy rain battered South Wales, Northern Ireland and the South-west of England yesterday as one of the most unsettled periods of weather in recent years continued.

The Met Office had weather warnings in place for much of Britain, with more torrential rain and gusts of up to 80 mph expected to blow in from the Atlantic by tomorrow. It said up to 10 cm (3.9 in.) of snow could fall on high ground in Scotland, disrupting road and rail travel. 

The chief Met Office forecaster, Tim Hewson, said: "There is some uncertainty... for later in the week but there is potential for a significant storm. We are keeping a close eye on the situation."

A clear-up operation was under way in parts of England and Wales yesterday after overnight storms led to homes being left without power and cross-Channel ferries being cancelled. An RAF helicopter rescued a walker who fell 20 ft. at Llysfaen, near Colwyn Bay.

The highest wave ever measured in Irish waters – 20.4 metres (67 ft.) – was recorded off the coast of Donegal. A man had a lucky escape when a 60ft beech tree crashed into his bungalow in Winchester. Richard Wilkinson, 65, will need surgery after a tonne of timber came through the roof and hit his bed.

Mr Wilkinson, a former British ambassador to Venezuela and Chile, said: "I was between sleeping and awake, listening to the storm outside when there was an enormous crash, like the Eiffel Tower falling into the Crystal Palace. I felt a blow to the side of my head, there was blood in my ear and I knew what had happened."

Hampshire Police received 206 emergency calls in 24 hours. Up to 40 mm of rain caused floods in Devon and Cornwall, and high winds forced the closure of the Tamar Bridge at Saltash.

London received 40% of its average December rainfall in 12 hours.

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