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Three killed as Storm Eleanor batters northern Europe

12 January 2018

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Storm Eleanor swept into France, Belgium and the Netherlands on Wednesday after tearing through England and Northern Ireland, cutting power to tens of thousands while forcing airports and train services to halt operations.

More than 20,000 customers in Northern Ireland lost their electricity supply but power has now been restored to all but about 2,700 homes and business.

A pregnant woman who had gone into labour early was flown safely to hospital by helicopter as the storm passed across mid-Wales.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said a "major incident" had been declared shortly after midnight by police in response to a number of calls in the region.

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A spokesman for the force said: "There were a lot of trees down from the word go".

In the Paris region, a falling tree hit a vehicle and seriously injured one person, while another resident was badly hurt falling from a building.

The Atlantic coast of Cornwall witnessed some of the most savage winds. The wind ripped off part of the roof of a building owned by the Harland and Wolff firm in east Belfast and fallen trees have blocked several roads.

Later, high winds forced the closure of the Eiffel Tower in Paris as Eleanor battered northern France, leaving 200,000 homes without electricity.

There were 17 flood warnings and 126 flood alerts in place on Wednesday, prompting the Thames Barrier to be closed.

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Bookmaker Coral is giving odds-on at 10-11 that the wind speed reaches as high as 100mph in mainland United Kingdom this week, with the firm also offering odds of 3-1 for this month to end as the wettest January on record and 6-4 for it to be the coldest January ever in the UK.

Authorities have warned the storm may also disrupt public transport, but forecasters say the rain and the winds will ease throughout the day.

Gusts of up to 89mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight at about midnight, while in Northolt, north-west London, speeds of up to 73mph were detected, and 77mph gusts were recorded in High Bradfield, South Yorkshire.

However, with further high winds expected on Wednesday night and into Thursday, more power outages are anticipated.

"Along west-facing coasts, injuries and danger to life is likely from large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, seafronts and properties".

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Three killed as Storm Eleanor batters northern Europe