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2021-November-27  19:27

UK: Storm Death Toll Rises to 3, 130,000 Homes without Power

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least three people have been killed as Storm Arwen brought gusts of almost 100mph, causing road closures, train delays and power cuts across the UK.

Police said one victim, from Lancaster, was killed at around 11pm last night on Vicarage Road in Ambleside, Cumbria. In Northern Ireland, a man was killed when his car was hit by a falling tree in County Antrim on Friday. And a third was killed when a tree fell on his car on the B977 in Aberdeenshire around 5pm Friday, The Daily Mail reported.

More than 130,000 homes in the UK have been left without electricity as the country is battered by ferocious winds, rainfall and snow.

While the Met Office's rare red weather warning expired early Saturday, the forecaster said that amber and yellow warnings for wind remained in place, with the expectation of gusts of 70mph in many areas today and flooding along the North East coastline.

Police urged people to travel only if absolutely necessary after roads were closed by fallen debris in the worst-hit parts of Scotland. 

Coastguards even begged Storm Arwen sightseers this morning to stay away from the sea on Saturday and Sunday, warning, "No selfie is worth killing yourself for".

LNER train services North of Newcastle were ground to a halt by high winds, heavy rain and snowfall, while ScotRail services were disrupted between Edinburgh and Glasgow Queen Street, Dunblane and Stirling after a barn was blown onto the line close to Polmont, near Falkirk. 

All Avanti West Coast services North of Carlisle have been cancelled on Saturday, with customers "strongly advised" not to attempt to travel on the route. Other services are running but may be subject to delays of 120 minutes. TransPennine Express customers were urged not to travel, with services between Newcastle and Edinburgh cancelled.

The Met Office warned the North-East of England, North-West of England, Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the East Midlands will experience cold weather until Monday. Amber weather warnings remain in place until around 9am on Saturday for the North-East coasts of England and Scotland, and the South-West coasts of England and Wales, while the yellow warning covers most of the UK until 6pm.

Friday night's rugby union Premiership game between Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors was postponed until tonight due to safety concerns.

And in North Wales, ITV was forced to pre-record Friday night's live episode of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! amid concerns that poor weather would interfere with the broadcast around Gwrych Castle. 

Tributes have been paid to a "renowned educationalist" who died after his car was struck by a falling tree.

Francis Lagan, principal of St Mary's Primary School in Maghera, died after the incident on the Dublin Road in Antrim on Friday as high winds hit the area during Storm Arwen. Sadness at his death was expressed by his school on Twitter.

Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney said Lagan was a "highly respected principal".

"I was shocked and very saddened to learn about the death of a motorist after a tree fell on his car while travelling along the Dublin Road in Antrim town on Friday evening," he said.

"The victim of this tragedy, Francis Lagan, was a highly respected South Derry school principal, who made an immense contribution to the community which he served. Francis was a renowned Maghera educationalist and civic leader," he added.

"My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, school colleagues and students, and the wider community of Maghera, where he was held in very great regard," he said.

Wind speeds reached 87mph in Orlock Head, County Down. Inverbervie on the North-East coast of Scotland saw gusts of 78mph, while Aberporth in Wales saw speeds of 77mph.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service said it had been dealing with a "large" number of incidents late on Friday "caused by the current weather conditions including many fallen trees and roofs being blown off structures".  

The Met Office described the conditions as "horrendous" and people also reported power cuts. Northern Powergrid said severe gales had caused power cuts for more than 55,000 customers, mainly in the Northumberland, County Durham and Tyne and Wear areas.  

A number of councils in Scotland also reported power cuts, and Electricity North West responded to a high number of cuts affecting thousands of properties in Cumbria and Lancashire.

Footage showed howling winds whipping up the North Sea in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, and snowfall elsewhere, including in Redcar, Yorkshire, and Whitley Bay, Northumberland.

North West Motorway Police said around 120 lorries were "stuck in the snow" on the M62 at junctions 21 and 22 and urged motorists to avoid the area. Tweeting pictures of the motorway blanketed in white, they said snow ploughs had been deployed.

A Met Office statement said. "People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life."

They are warning people not to get too close to cliffs and harbour walls - even piers - as the howling 70mph gales whip up huge waves.

HM Coastguard Cornwall & Isles of Scilly warned that just 15cm of water is enough to knock you off your feet and sweep you into the boiling cauldron - with little chance of being rescued. 

"There are lots of warnings around our coast from the Met office for the next couple of days," they said.

"Please take great care if you are going to look at the waves. No photo is worth your life, it only takes 15cm of water to sweep you off your feet. Keep back from cliff edges, piers, harbour walls and other exposed areas if it's choppy," they added. 

The Met Office has issued a rare highest "danger to life" warning for wind from 3pm Friday to 2am Saturday, with gales forecast to be as high as 90mph and waves as high as 32ft.

Superintendent Simon Bradshaw, from Police Scotland's Road Policing Unit, said motorists in the area "should not travel under any circumstances' and added those in amber and yellow warning zones should 'not journey out unless for essential purposes and if you are doing so, to be mindful of the challenging conditions you will face". 

The red warning stretched along the East coast from Middlesbrough to beyond Aberdeen and was the first maximum alert to be issued since Storm Dennis in February 2020.