Dec. 24 - Transport networks were disrupted and power cuts wreaked havoc in Britain on Tuesday, one of the busiest shopping and travel days of the year, after hurricane-force winds and torrential rain lashed the region just before Christmas. (Rough cut only - no reporter narration).
Disrupted transport networks and power cuts wreaked havoc in Britain and France on Tuesday (December 24), one of the busiest travel and shopping days of the year just before Christmas, after hurricane-force winds and torrential rain lashed the region. Winds of up to 90 mph (145 kph) hit both sides of the Channel, killing at least three people, as heavy downpours caused rivers to flood, traffic bottlenecks, and rail, flight and ferry services to be cancelled. British train operators also cancelled hundreds of services on Tuesday morning, by which time the storm had abated, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stranded and unable to travel in and out of London. Airports in the south of Britain were also disrupted. In southern England, 100,000 homes were cut off from the power grid. The weather is expected to be a blow for British retailers, eager to cash in on the traditional pre-Christmas rush. In France, Brittany and Normandy were among the regions worst hit in France, where 240,000 homes were deprived of electricity. Energy network groups in both countries said engineers were working to address the damage before the Christmas festivities start. Further wet and stormy weather could hit Britain's shores on Friday, warned the country's weather forecasting service, causing more headaches for retailers during "the sales", the usually busy post-Christmas discounting period.