UK: Storm Katie brings violent start to Easter Monday

Spring storm cuts a swath through the UK, uprooting trees, felling power lines and diverting aircraft.

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    UK: Storm Katie brings violent start to Easter Monday
    Storm Katie damages The Duchess pub in London's Battersea area [Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP]

    A spring storm of damaging proportions has crossed the UK in nine hours, uprooting trees, felling power lines and diverting aircraft.

    Storm Katie continues the recent policy of naming storms whose winds show the potential for damage. It is the 11th named storm since November 2015.

    Two dozen flights were diverted from Gatwick airport in the early hours of Easter Monday as the buffeting became too much, even for large aircraft - 60 flights were cancelled at London's Heathrow airport.

    Some 80,000 households reportedly suffered power cuts after damage to lines and transformers.

    Across England, 28 flood warnings were in place by dawn as river levels rose rapidly in the wake of the storm.

    At the start of Easter Monday, Katie was centred upon Cornwall, the most southwesterly county of England, and by 09:00 GMT it was over Lincolnshire.

    In the eye of the storm, the pressure of 971mb is low even for mid-winter, but British Summer Time has just come into force.

    Gusts of wind of 128 kilometres an hour were registered along the south coast of England and London's Heathrow airport clocked 93km/h. The swath of strongest winds swept across southern England and brought down mature trees, took out the gable end wall of a London pub and swept scaffolding from buildings.

    Such was the strength of this storm that it drew in air on its back edge cold enough to bring snow to the English Midlands.

    More typically, the rain that fell was relentless: Dunkeswell in Devon, Middle Wallop in Hampshire, and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire all collected around 30mm.

    The rest of the week will be a little more like spring; drier and far less windy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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