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Storm dumps rain, high winds down trees in Britain and Ireland

Dec. 19, 2013 at 1:59 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- High winds and rain hit the British Isles Wednesday, disrupting transportation and leaving thousands of people without power.

Ireland was hard hit. A 23-year-old nurse died in Westmeath when a tree branch landed on her car, and three people were injured in Cork when a train station roof collapsed, the Irish Times reported.

In Limerick, what appeared to be a tornado took the roof off a building. Marie Twohig, a police officer, described the weather conditions as freakish.

"It suddenly blew up with torrential rain at about 3 p.m. and about half an hour later it had all subsided," she said.

In England, a crewman fell from a freighter in the River Trent on the east coast, the Guardian reported. The bad weather hampered a search by the Coast Guard and a Royal Air Force helicopter.

Extensive power failures were reported throughout Britain and Ireland. Train speeds were cut in many regions because of the weather, and downed trees caused long delays.

A quarterfinal soccer match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Britannia Stadium in Stoke was suspended because of hail. Manchester won 2-0 when play resumed.

A championship game between Sheffield and Wigan was halted because of water on the field.

Forecasters said the bad weather was to continue into Thursday for much of England, Scotland and Wales.

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