Three killed and houses, boats and cars damaged by St Jude's Storm

A major Atlantic storm has struck parts of England and Wales leaving three people dead and

a trail of devastation in its wake.

Several sailors were rescued in the build-up to the St Jude’s Storm, which battered boats along the southern regions of the United Kingdom.

Flights,

train and ferry services were cancelled as

gale-force winds and heavy rain swept through overnight and into this morning, leaving thousands of homes without power.

Cruise passengers’ cars were damaged when ‘severe seas and 70mph winds’ hit the Port of Dover.

The

Met Office recorded a maximum wind gust of 99mph at 6am at Needles Old Battery, Isle of Wight.

Three people have been reported dead: a teenager in Kent and a man in Watford were killed by falling trees, another man was found dead in a collapsed house in west London after a falling tree caused a suspected gas explosion.

A teenager is also feared dead after being swept out to sea, while swimming off Newhaven’s West Beach, yesterday afternoon.

Sailors rescued

Weather warnings were issued by the Met Office ahead of the storm’s arrival and the Royal

National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) called for boat owners to secure their

vessels and then ‘stay away from the sea.’

But

for some, last-minute preparations resulted in rescues.

Yesterday morning, Poole all-weather lifeboat was tasked to assist two people on an eight-metre

yacht, who had got into difficulty while securing the cruiser’s lines in Poole Harbour.

As

they prepared for the imminent storms, the yacht slipped its mooring

and drifted into Whitley Lake, on the north eastern corner of Poole Harbour.

The

lifeboat crew found the vessel

heeled over in a precarious position and aground. The lifeboat crew attached a line to the yacht but could not get

alongside in the shallow water. The inshore lifeboat attended and helped to get

the vessel afloat and upright.

The

yacht was returned to its mooring and made secure.

RNLI

volunteer deputy coxswain Glen Mallen said:

‘With conditions worsening, the vessel would have not weathered the storm, it

was a challenge to get it upright with the conditions out in the Harbour, but a

job well done.’

Marooned as the storm approached

The

Dart D Class lifeboat also rescued two yachtsmen trapped on their yacht as a

storm approached.

The

two sailors were marooned on their 28ft Falmouth workboat, moored above

Dittisham on the River Dart. They had gone to check the yacht in their small

inflatable tender with an outboard. By the time they had finished the weather

conditions had deteriorated and with a severe storm approaching, they requested

help.

They

were taken on board the lifeboat and taken in near gale conditions, with their tender, to

Dittisham.

Car damage at Europe’s busiest international ferry port

The Port of Dover has now re-opened and ferry services have resumed from the Eastern Docks with the Port’s tugs in assistance to ensure the safety of its customers.

Whilst there has only been some relatively minor superficial damage to the Eastern Docks, the Western Docks bore the brunt of the storm with around 50 Fred Olsen cruise customer cars, parked at the terminal, being damaged by the severe seas overtopping breakwaters in the high winds which at times were gusting above 70 miles per hour.

The Port of Dover confirms it will be providing every assistance to its cruise customers in dealing with insurance claims, onward travel arrangements or any other requirement to support them following this very unfortunate turn of events.
 
Mike Rodwell, Managing Director at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: ‘Together with the Port of Dover, we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that none of our customers is inconvenienced due to this storm and will be liaising closely with them to prepare for their arrival in Dover next week.’

Pictures:

The Poole boat rescue. Credit: Mike Millard/RNLI Poole

Huge waves hit Brighton Marina. Credit: FameFlynet

Boat damage on the Isle of Wight: Credit: Isle of Wight Radio Facebook page

Newhaven lifeboat search for teenager washed into sea

Port of Dover staff cleaning up shingle