***UK STORM UPDATE***

Storm Alert

MORE STORMS ON THE WAY

Fire Crews Rescue 25 People Trapped By Floods

Fire crews in Dorset have rescued some 25 people from cars trapped by flooding as storms hit Christmas travel plans for thousands

Gales and Heavy Rain Threaten Festive Getaway

Fire crews have rescued approximately 25 people from cars trapped in flood water in Dorset as severe weather batters the UK.

Dorset fire control said rescuers helped get people out of stranded vehicles in the Sturminster, Blandford, Shaftesbury, Sherborne and Wimborne areas.

In Shropshire, a woman was killed and a man seriously hurt in a car crash which happened in “difficult weather conditions”.

Strong gales and heavy rains are forecast to sweep most of the country bringing travel chaos to people hoping to get home in time for Christmas.

Engineers are working to restore power to around 100,000 homes across the South, with no guarantee the lights will be back on in time for Christmas day.

The fatal crash in Shropshire happened near Shrewsbury just after 9.30pm on Monday.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said in a statement: “Weather conditions at the time were very difficult.

“On arrival, crews found three cars at the scene. Firefighters were undertaking life support on a woman in one of the cars.

“Sadly despite all efforts, it was not possible to save her and she was confirmed dead at the scene. A man from the same car was assessed but was uninjured.

“A man in his 30s from a second car was trapped for over half an hour. He had suffered facial, hip and leg injuries. A woman in the third car was uninjured.”

Five teenagers were also injured in a separate incident after their car rolled over in “wet and windy” weather conditions north of Wolverhampton, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

Some 900 passengers were stuck on the Spirit of Britain ferry outside Dover for 15 hours as it was considered too dangerous to enter Dover harbour.

The ship left Calais last night and managed to dock safely at around 7.30am.

Shortly before the ship reached Dover, Digvijay Rathod told Sky News: “Many people haven’t slept. I have 53 people to take care of. There are mothers, there are children who have been sick.

Passengers stranded on the Spirit of Britain ferry

“It’s been a tough night – people just want to get home. We left Calais at 4pm and we were supposed to reach here within two hours.

“It was really choppy. Things were falling out of shelves, people were not able to stand properly. We were instructed to be seated and not move around. People were panicking a bit.”

With the worst of the storms now likely to affect Scotland and Northern Ireland, the severe weather has caused four deaths.

Rail delays and cancellations are hitting commuters this morning and the Highways Agency has warned of widespread localised flooding and road closures.

There are no trains to Gatwick or Stansted airports this morning and services to Heathrow are affected by delays.

Storm damage

Southern Railway have advised passengers not to make any plans to travel today until further notice because of damage caused by the storm overnight.

South West Trains said there would be no service before 10am due to 35 trees blocking lines and flooding across the network.

Network Rail asked for passengers’ patience and said in southern England the storm damage had been greater than that of the “St Jude’s Storm” a few weeks ago.

Customers are being advised to check the latest travel situation before starting their journeys.

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