Worst storm in five years brings high winds and floods to UK
Search under way for 14-year-old boy swept out to sea in East Sussex
Waves crash near Brighton Pier in East Sussex. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA
England and Wales were last night braced for the worst storm in years with heavy rain and hurricane-force winds expected overnight and today.
A search was under way for a 14-year-old boy who was swept out to sea while swimming near the shore in Newhaven, East Sussex. Winds of more than 80mph were expected to bring down trees and cause widespread structural damage, leading to power cuts and transport chaos. Surface water floods were also expected, following the prediction that 2-4cm of rain could fall within six to nine hours overnight.
Police said the teenager got into difficulty while swimming with friends near the shore.
A Sussex police spokesman said: “This is a very distressing incident and everything possible is being done to try to find the boy. Meanwhile, all agencies are reminding people of the dangers of being at seashores in adverse weather, especially in view of the approaching severe weather conditions overnight. The advice is straightforward – stay clear.”
A search was under way involving the coastguard and police. The high winds caused an 89ft wind turbine to blow over in a field at Higher Rixdale Farm at Luton, near Teignmouth, Devon.
It also saw firefighters dismantle a smaller turbine from the roof of a house in Ilfracombe which was in “in a precarious position”.
Meanwhile, in nearby Cornwall, a family-of-four escaped unhurt after a tree hit their house. Two children and their parents were sleeping when the tree crashed through the roof of their house in Camborne at about 1am on Sunday.
The storm has been named St Jude after the patron saint of lost causes, whose feast day is today.The Met Office described the storm as not one “you would see every year” and said the expected wind strengths would be similar to storms in March 2008, January 2007 and October 2000. Gusts of 115mph were recorded during the Great Storm of 1987, when 18 people died.