Western U.K. Homes Remain Powerless after Storms Batter Coast

By Brian Swint and Eduard Gismatullin | February 6, 2014

Hundreds of homes in western England and Wales remained without power today after storms cut lines and damaged railway tracks.

About 280 households had electricity cuts as of 8:30 a.m. U.K. time, said Western Power Distribution, which covers south Wales and the southwest of England. Almost 10,000 homes were powerless yesterday.

“We haven’t stopped working, it’s an ongoing thing,” an official at Western Power said by phone. “With the weather conditions we have new faults coming at the same time as we are putting people back on supply.”

Train services in the west of England were halted after storms damaged a stretch of track at Dawlish on the southern coast, National Rail said on its website. No trains are running between Exeter and Plymouth and there is limited service between Plymouth and Penzance in Cornwall.

Storms and tidal surges since the beginning of December have flooded over 7,500 homes from Somerset to Kent in southern England, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told lawmakers in Parliament three days ago. Residents have criticized the government for the slow response and for cutting flood- protection funding.

This morning, the Environment Agency had two severe flood warnings in place, both in Somerset, indicating a danger to life. There were also 61 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and 222 flood alerts, indicating it’s possible. Places with flood warnings include towns along the Thames River to the west of London, including Sunbury, Windsor and Staines. Warnings were also in place in Winchester, Worcester, Tewkesbury and Yeovil.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will make a statement to parliament about the flooding at 11:30 a.m., the government website said.

–With assistance from Alex Morales in London. Editors: Alex Devine, James Herron