Christmas misery set to continue

A police officer wades through flood water near Lingfield in Surrey.

A workman works on repairing electricity lines near Reigate in Surrey after floods hit the area

Passenger Daniel Cawthorne took this picture of luggage piled up at the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport.

A cyclist braves a flooded road in Godalming, Surrey, after floods hit the area

Flooded homes in Leatherhead in Surrey after floods hit the area

Snow sits on a hill close to a farmhouse in Buxton, Derbyshire, on Christmas Day

A cyclist makes his way through snow and fog in Buxton, Derbyshire, on Christmas Day following overnight snow in the area

First published in National News © by

The Christmas misery faced by the thousands of people without power in the wake of the stormy weather may continue through the week.

The power outages come as scores of people had to be evacuated due to flooding, following a number of deaths, thought to be related to the bad weather, in the days running up to Christmas.

The Environment Agency (EA) said there have been 922 reports of properties flooding in England.

Some 43,000 properties across the UK are still without power, the Energy Networks Association said, with Tim Field, spokesman for the company, adding: "It's likely that some people will still be off on Boxing Day. We don't have exact numbers."

UK Power Networks said there are about 23,379 households in the South East without power and the East of England is now virtually back to normal apart from a few isolated pockets of customers.

However, the company added: "Due to the severity of the storm damage in Kent, Surrey and Sussex it may take until the end of the week to restore power supplies to the final pockets of customers in these areas, though work is continuing to reconnect supplies as quickly as possible."

With many families' turkey dinner ruined, the power company made arrangements for "hundreds" of people left without power to have Christmas dinner.

The EA has two severe warnings in place in the South West - the highest level of alert, which means there is a danger to life, at Beaulieu Garden Park Home Site and Iford Bridge Home Park, where evacuations have already taken place.

There are 106 flood warnings and 188 flood alerts.

Firefighters broke their strike in parts of England because of the storms.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union in Surrey and Kent were recalled to duty under the terms of an agreement between the union, the employers and the Government.

In the early hours, around 90 people were evacuated from their homes on the River Stour near Bournemouth. P olice began to evacuate residents of the Ilford Bridge Home Park shortly after 3am following a severe flood warning from the EA.

They were taken to the Boscombe Day Centre in Owl Road, Boscombe, Dorset Police said.

Residents have told how they were rescued from their homes early on Christmas morning, with Pat Tapply, 79, a retired civil servant, telling how a boat came to rescue them.

People were also evacuated from the Beaulieu Garden Park Home in Christchurch, Dorset.

The Coastguard joined Kent Fire and Rescue Service to rescue people from the Little Venice Caravan and Marina Park in Yalding after rising waters from the River Medway cut them off.

The EA said that by last night 150 properties had been flooded in England, mainly in the south and focused in Surrey and Kent.

In Surrey residents were evacuated from their homes in Dorking, Leatherhead and Guildford, while more evacuations occurred in Tonbridge, Kent.

Some 40 properties were evacuated in Godalming because of concerns over the height of the River Wey, Surrey Police said, and a rest centre was set up for residents.

Met Office forecaster Kirk Waite said the storm coming on Friday is not expected to be as severe as we have already had, but added that there would be quite heavy amounts of rain, which would bring "additional problems" to the places already dealing with floods.

Tragedy has struck in the run-up to Christmas Day, with the bad weather thought to have contributed to a number of deaths.

On December 23, a man's body was pulled from the River Rothay in Ambleside, Cumbria, while a woman also died in a river in Gwynedd, North Wales.

Another woman died and a man was seriously hurt in a car crash which happened in ''difficult weather conditions'', West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

The woman died in the crash near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, which happened just after 9.30pm on Monday.

A man died in a multiple-vehicle crash near Bodmin in Cornwall on Sunday night.

In Ireland, a man in his 40s died when his car hit a wall at Moyleen, near Loughrea, Co Galway, on Monday. Gardai in Galway were warning of severe winds.

Travellers trying to get home on Christmas Eve fought treacherous conditions on the roads and suffered major delays as the rail network was brought to its knees.

There was chaos at Gatwick Airport in West Sussex after a power cut at the North Terminal led to cancellations and delays, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. The airport said last night that normal service would resume today.

The flooding left Christmas cancelled for many people. Gary Button, manager of the Old Mill Hotel in Batheaston near Bath, told the BBC he had to cancel more than 50 Christmas dinners after the River Avon flooded the property.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service said its control room received 130 calls between 5am and midday and reminded people to ring only if there was a risk to life of serious property damage.

A man has tweeted a picture of his family sitting down to a candlelit McDonald's meal on Christmas Eve due to being affected by a power cut.

Nick Rolt, from Crawley, tweeted: "Eating a mcdonalds on Christmas Eve because we've had a power cut all day and most likely all tomorrow"

It was not a complete Christmas disaster for the family though as he said today in a tweet that the power had been restored.

The EA said tonight there have been an estimated 1,000 reports of properties flooding in England.

Some 32,600 properties across the UK are still without power, the Energy Networks Association said.

UK Power Networks said there are less than 20,000 properties in the South East without power and said the East of England is now virtually back to normal apart from a few isolated pockets of customers.

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