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Storm batters southwest England; thousands without power

Feb. 5, 2014 at 1:05 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Rain, wind and surf battered southwest England Tuesday, leaving roads and rail lines blocked and thousands of people without power.

Cornwall was the hardest hit area, the Daily Telegraph reported. An estimated 10,000 homes and businesses were without electricity by Tuesday night.

The Tamar Bridge between Plymouth, Devon, and Saltash, Cornwall, was closed to all traffic when wind speeds hit 70 mph. It was later opened to cars but closed to high vehicles.

Police in Devon and Cornwall reported that in a single hour Tuesday evening they received 65 calls about dangerous downed trees.

The Environment Agency predicted more bad weather in the next few days in the region, This Is Cornwall reported.

"Following the wettest January on record in some places we are now set to experience successive bands of heavy rain heavy rain fall lasting into the weekend," John Curtin, the agency's head, said.

Areas in Somerset and Wales were also affected.

Prince Charles made an official visit to the Somerset Levels, a low-lying agricultural area that runs to the Bristol Channel. Ironically, the prince's visit, scheduled last year, was to tour areas hit by what were billed as 100-year floods in 2012, but he arrived to see thousands of acres underwater again, the Guardian reported.

The prince appeared to be criticizing the government response to the floods in remarks caught by an ITV camera crew in the village hall at Stoke St. Gregory. He pledged a 50,000 pound ($80,000) contribution from his Countryside Fund for flood relief.

"There's nothing like a jolly good disaster to get people to start doing something," he said. "The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long."

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