|Weak UK response to wettest winter worsens misery
Hurricane-force winds from an Atlantic storm left tens of thousands of Britons without power today and one man dead, adding to widespread misery after floods caused by the wettest winter in 250 years.
Around 80,000 households remain without electricity. Wales remains the worst affected, AFP reports.
One man died after being electrocuted while attempting to move a fallen tree that had brought down power lines in Wiltshire, southwest England.
Gusts approaching 160 kilometres per hour tore at parts of England and Wales, and the River Thames was predicted to rise to its highest level in more than 60 years in places, threatening towns and villages to the west of London.
The conditions brought chaos for commuters, stranding a train carrying hundreds of passengers after overhead lines came down in Yorkshire, northern England.
The Met Office national weather service issued a red warning – the highest threat level – for “exceptionally strong winds'' in western parts of Wales and northwest England.
More than 5,800 properties have flooded since early December, officials said.
The flooding started in the southwestern county of Somerset but since January the River Thames near London has been badly affected with more than 1,100 properties inundate there since January 29, authorities said.
Forecasters said 70 millimetres of rain would fall by Friday in southwest England.
Emergency efforts were picking up following criticism of a sluggish response, and the military said 1,600 soldiers had been deployed with 2,000 in total available.
In Wraysbury, the Thameside village that has been submerged since the weekend, 83-year-old Jennie Francis's house has flooded and her hallway was filled with water.
She has been forced to take refuge at her son's home.
Prime Minister David Cameron chaired the government's COBRA emergency committee and then told parliament he stood by his pledge that “money is no object in this relief effort.’’
He warned that a further 800 to 1,000 homes were at risk of flooding as the Thames rose.