Storm Imogen brings chaos to Britain

Waves crash over the cliffs at Sennen near Land's End in Cornwall, England. Photo / Getty Images
Waves crash over the cliffs at Sennen near Land's End in Cornwall, England. Photo / Getty Images

This is the incredible moment a huge wave engulfed an entire Cornish cliff face as Storm Imogen lashed Britain with hurricane-force winds.

Dramatic photos show giant waves lashing the coast of Sennen, near Land's End, as experts warned conditions at sea reached 'phenomenal' states.

Waves measuring up to 63ft were recorded off the Cornish coast at St Ives, while a height of 44.2ft was observed off the coast of the Isles of Scilly.

It came as Britain's ninth named storm battered the south of England, leaving the transport network in chaos and around 13,000 homes without power.

Schools had to be closed, major roads and bridges shut and ferry services cancelled as winds of up to 100mph battered the coast of Britain.

This picture was taken in the fishing port of Porthleven and shows the effects of Storm Imogen. Photo / Getty Images
This picture was taken in the fishing port of Porthleven and shows the effects of Storm Imogen. Photo / Getty Images

The storm also left a number of people needing hospital treatment including two children who were injured when a wall fell on them in Worcestershire, and an elderly man who suffered a double leg fracture when a 5ft flint wall landed on him and his dog in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

An RSPCA inspector also remains missing tonight after trying to rescue dozens of stricken sea birds at a beach near Penzance in Cornwall at the height of the storm. His family fear he may have been swept out to sea as winds topped 100mph across exposed parts of the UK.

It comes as more than 13,500 homes were left without power across the South West and South Wales due to the extreme weather conditions.

Western Power Distribution said engineers worked to reconnect many of the homes but more than 5,000 properties are still affected in Cornwall.

A further 2,500 are without power in Devon and 1,000 in Gloucestershire.

The storm has caused major disruption to southern England, including to rail commuters who faced rush-hour chaos as they tried to make their way home this evening amid a barrage of cancellations and delays.

Trains in and out of London were disrupted due to the hurricane-force winds, while routes to Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Portsmouth, Southampton, Gloucester and Cardiff were also affected.

While many services were outright cancelled, speed restrictions were also imposed on the remaining routes at various times due to the high winds.

Affected networks include Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway, Southern, South West Trains, Gatwick Express, Southeastern and Thameslink.

Waves crash over the cliffs at Sennen near Land's End. Photo / Getty Images
Waves crash over the cliffs at Sennen near Land's End. Photo / Getty Images

Gatwick Airport also warned flights may be disrupted.

Earlier today, all trains in and out of Cornwall were cancelled after a tree fell onto the tracks and was struck by a train near Bodmin.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: 'A tree has come down on both sides of the tracks a mile west of Bodmin Parkway. A train has struck the tree.

'No one is injured but damage has been caused to the train. Trains have been stopped as the tree is covering both lines of the track.'

Motorists also faced further misery on the roads, with the Severn Bridge closed in both directions because of the strong winds.

The Dartford Crossing was also shut in one direction, leading to a backlog of traffic between Essex and Kent, while the A35 between Devon and Hampshire was closed between the A37 at Dorchester and the A3066 at Bridport due to a fallen tree.

Newhaven Harbour wall and lighthouse take a battering. Photo / Getty Images
Newhaven Harbour wall and lighthouse take a battering. Photo / Getty Images

The M4 near Port Talbot was also shut after a lorry overturned in high winds, causing massive tailbacks, and Highways England issued a severe weather alert for 'high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes, which are advised to take extra care when travelling, due to the increased risk of vehicles being blown over'.

Ferry companies Brittany and P&O also cancelled services throughout the day, with the choppy sea conditions proving too dangerous to set sail.

DFDS and P&O ferries between Dover and Calais were affected, while services from Liverpool to Dublin and from Newhaven to Dieppe were also cancelled. Journeys between the UK and Spain and France are also disrupted in the coming days.

It comes as an RSPCA inspector remains missing after attending the rescue of dozens of sea birds at a beach near Penzance in Cornwall.

Mike Reid, 54, has not been seen since he was called to a wildlife rescue involving 20 to 30 gannets stranded on rocks at Porthchapel Beach.

A lorry trailer that has been blown over in the wind is seen in Newquay. Photo / Getty Images
A lorry trailer that has been blown over in the wind is seen in Newquay. Photo / Getty Images

Inspector Jean Phillips, based in Penzance, said: 'We are extremely concerned for Mike's welfare, particularly with the wet and windy weather.'

Speaking from her home in Redruth, Cornwall, Mr Reid's wife Tracey, 45, told today how she was just anxiously waiting for news.

She said: 'It looks like he may have fallen from a cliff and gone into the sea. That is what we think has happened but we just don't know.

'They are still searching inland. We are all devastated and feeling numb, but we just don't know what is happening at the moment.'

Earlier, two children in the Worcestershire village of Bretforton were airlifted to hospital after being pulled from rubble when a wall collapsed on them.

The youngsters, a boy and girl aged five and seven, suffered serious leg injuries when the stone garden wall next to the B4035 fell on them.

Paramedics stabilised them before they were flown to hospital for treatment, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said.

Mother Clair de Groot wrote on Facebook that her son was involved in the incident and said it was 'very chilling to hear the air ambulance land'.

Elsewhere in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, a man was seriously injured and his dog was killed after high winds brought a wall crashing down on them.

A man helps his companions to walk in the wind in Newquay. Photo / Getty Images
A man helps his companions to walk in the wind in Newquay. Photo / Getty Images

The elderly man suffered a double fracture in his leg after a 5ft flint wall collapsed onto him and his pet just before 8am this morning.

Meanwhile, police were forced to close Bridgend town centre in South Wales over concerns for public safety and fears of injuries from tiles being blown from roofs.

Fire crews in Carmarthenshire were also called to a wind turbine that caught alight near the village of Pontyates shortly before 2pm.

And Cape Cornwall School in Penzance, Cornwall, was closed after storm damage to a neighbouring property, with an assessment due to be carried out.

In Yatton, North Somerset, a roof blew off a Lloyds Bank branch, while the Forestry Commission closed a number of forests due to the dangerously high winds.

In the St Annes area of Bristol, a man in his 40s was injured after trees fell onto a three-storey block of flats. He was treated for a minor head injury.

Earlier, a major river search got under way for a man missing in Taunton after he was believed to have fallen into the River Tone this morning.

Avon and Somerset Police officers were originally called at 8.15am - but later stood down their units, saying that they had been given false details.

A force spokesman said: 'We're satisfied there's no one in the water and the information we originally received was incorrect.'

Around 225 Environment Agency flood warnings are in place across the UK amid heavy downpours, with 48 warnings calling for 'immediate action', particularly in the South West and Wales where parts were expected to see around 1.5ins (40mm) of rain today.

Met Office forecaster Emma Sillitoe said the winds would be some of the worst so far this winter.

She said: 'We have seen 96mph at the Needles off the Isle of Wight and gusts of 80mph are likely, especially along northern coasts of Devon and Cornwall and along the Bristol Channel as well.'

Winds are expected to gradually ease into the evening.

Last night 80 workers were evacuated from North Sea oil platform Brent Bravo which was damaged during a violent storm.

Crews were flown to nearby Brent Charlie and Brent Delta after Shell had concerns over structural damage to one of Brent Bravo's three legs.

A spokesman said: 'An incident occurred on Sunday evening on the Brent Bravo platform, located approximately 115 miles north east of Lerwick.'

Highways England warned motorists in the South to check forecasts and road conditions before travelling due to strong winds forecast up to 6pm.

The A35 running along the south coast between Devon and Hampshire has been closed in both directions near Dorchester due to flooding.

And the agency issued a severe weather alert for 'high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes, which are advised to take extra care'.

Traffic crossing between England and Wales is being diverted in both directions via the M4 following restrictions on the M48.

Cars parked at Fistral Beach in Newquay were left half-submerged in sand as wind lashed the beach and a lorry was blown over on the M4.

And the strong winds forced the Dartford Crossing between Essex and Kent to close in one direction - causing six mile queues in the area.

Highways England spokesman Jon Allen urged drivers to 'check their routes and change their journeys accordingly' before setting off today.

Meanwhile those watching waves in coastal areas were warned to keep a safe distance, as 45ft swells in the Channel could create dramatic scenes.

MeteoGroup forecaster Mario Cuellar said: 'It is going to be very stormy on Monday with high winds and rain, especially in the South West and Wales.

'The storm will spread eastwards during the day and could bring disruption to travel, especially Channel ferries in the late afternoon.

'This stormy weather will clear later in the week but the forthcoming weekend also looks unsettled with a low weather front coming in over the north.'

Tomorrow and Wednesday should be drier, quieter and colder days for many before more wind and rain follows later in the week.

Storm Imogen follows Storm Henry, which ran close to the north of Scotland through Monday into Tuesday of last week.

On Saturday in Cornwall the heavy rain and high winds caused flooding problems, as five vehicles became stuck in flood waters.

Sporting fixtures were also postponed with Exeter v Oxford and Bristol Rovers v Wimbledon in League Two called off due to waterlogged pitches.

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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