UK storms: Two dead, 100,000 homes without power
Scotland bears brunt of gale-force winds, but tidal surge will cause floods
TWO people are dead and more than 100,000 homes are without power as gale-force winds of up to 142mph tore through Scotland and parts of northern England. Forecasters say floods - possibly as severe as the "devastating" flooding of 1953 - are likely to affect about 3,000 homes on the East coast.
The first victim of the high winds that hit Scotland was the driver of an HGV which was blown over onto two cars in West Lothian this morning. A second man was killed in Nottinghamshire by a falling tree.
At least 100,000 homes are without power with energy companies reporting blackouts in the Highlands, Perthshire and Aberdeenshire, due to "weather-related incidents".
Glasgow Central Station was evacuated shortly after 8am after debris hurled by high winds smashed glass on the roof. Network Rail Scotland said no one was hurt and staff had escorted passengers out of the building.
Two Edbinburgh men have been taken to hospital after being hit by falling trees in separate incidents. The first incident occurred in The Meadows, Edinburgh; the second occured in the city's Barnton area when a car was hit by a falling tree and one of its occupants was injured.
While Scotland has bourne the brunt of the storm so far, communities on the East Coast of the UK have been told to prepare for the most serious tidal surge in 30 years, the BBC reports.
As winter finally bares its fangs, forecasters believe 3,000 properties will be flooded within the next 24 hours thanks to a dangerous combination of high tides, large waves, strong winds and a tidal surge. In some areas the level of flooding could be as bad as the "devastating" floods of 1953, the BBC says, although flood defences built since then will offer some protection.
The Thames barrier is scheduled to close tonight to protect London from rising waters.
The Environment Agency has more than 100 flood warnings and alerts in place including 18 severe alerts – indicating danger to life - for East Anglia. Areas set to bear the brunt of the flooding include West Mersea in Essex, Southwold and Thorpeness in Suffolk, the Riverside Business park in Lowestoft, Suffolk, and along the Bure and Yare rivers in Great Yarmouth.
The Environment Agency's flood risk manager Pete Fox told the BBC that people living in coastal areas should to take action to protect themselves from flooding.
"The most important thing actually is that along the East Coast, the high tide will be hitting in the hours of darkness this evening and tonight so people really need to take the daylight hours today to prepare for the coastal and tidal flooding that we're predicting," he said. "We've been working with the emergency services for the last 24 hours or so gearing up for this event."
Scotland is already being lashed by 100mph winds and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued flood warnings for Central Scotland, Edinburgh and Lothians, Fife, and Skye and Lochaber.
Travel is certain to be disrupted by the weather in some regions. The Met Office has issued an amber 'be prepared' warning – indicating likely delays due to road and rail closures - for most of the country north of the midlands.
London and South East England, Northern Ireland, Wales and West Midlands have been placed under a yellow warning, indicating travellers should expect some disruption. ·