LONDON – Hurricane-force winds reaching up to 106 mph (170 kph) and heavy rainstorms battered parts of Britain on Sunday, disrupting train services and stranding drivers in floodwaters.
The Isle of Wight saw Storm Bella’s strongest gusts hit 106 mph, while parts of the south coast of England and north Wales also saw gusts of around 80 mph (129 kph). Flooding on the tracks caused train cancellations and delays in southern England, and a main train line into London was blocked by a fallen tree.
In Wales, Western Power said the storm caused power cuts for 21,000 homes. Most of the services were restored Sunday but 1,700 homes still had no power supply.
Some 1,000 people had to be evacuated from a flooded caravan park in Northampton on Christmas Day as heavy rain flooded the site. Severe flood warnings indicating a potential threat to life remain in the area.
Across the Channel, nearly all of France was under storm warning Sunday, with winds up to 90 mph (145 kph) registered at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and heavy rains and gusts lashing the Atlantic coast, according to the national weather service and utility services. The storms have knocked out electricity for at least 12,000 homes in Brittany, Normandy and other northern French regions.