Man killed as Storm Desmond lashes Britain

LONDON: One man was killed Saturday as Storm Desmond whipped across Britain, bringing heavy rain, strong winds and flooding to parts of the country.


A 90-year-old man died near a north London Underground station. He is believed to have been blown against the side of a moving bus, police said.

Meanwhile in northwest England, towns and villages were flooded, with the water reaching waist height in some places.

“My thoughts are with all affected by Storm Desmond,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.

“Teams are working to ensure swift response and help for those who need it.”

England’s Environment Agency declared more than 130 flood warnings, almost all in the north, with more than 40 of them deemed severe, meaning there was a danger to life.

“River levels across northern England are already high and we are expecting to see severe flooding locally,” said Jonathan Day, the EA’s flood risk manager.

The village of Shap in Westmorland county, northwest England, received the most rain in the 24 hours to 1900 GMT on Saturday, with 178 millimetres falling — well above the average for the whole of December, said the Met Office.

Gusts of up to 80 miles (130 kilometres) per hour were expected on higher ground, the national weather service said.

Westmorland MP Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ party leader, was stranded in his car due to “a river that isn’t normally there,” he told the BBC, admitting his vehicle “may have seen its last journey”.

The River Eden burst its banks in Appleby in the county, with pictures showing deep water flowing through the town.

Scotland was also affected.

The weather caused three Scottish Premiership football fixtures to be postponed, including champions Celtic’s home match against Hamilton, due to a waterlogged pitch.

Other league and cup matches were also called off.

In the Celtic League rugby, Glasgow’s match against Ireland’s Leinster was also postponed due to surface water.

“The weather system will clear southwards during the early hours of Sunday,” the Met Office said.

However, rainwater is expected to cause flooding as rivers swell on Sunday.

Desmond is the fourth named storm to hit Britain in recent months.