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Two dead as powerful storm batters UK

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A car, crushed by a fallen tree and lamppost, is pictured in Birkenhead, north west England on November 27, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Two people were killed, thousands of homes cut off from power and drivers stuck on freezing roads overnight as a powerful storm hit the northern UK, authorities said Saturday.

One man was killed when his car was struck by a falling tree in Northern Ireland late Friday, police said, as "Storm Arwen" triggered a rare "red weather" warning from the UK's meteorological service.

Another man died when he was hit by a tree in the Lake District, northwest England. 

"People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life," warned the Met Office.

Packing wind gusts of almost 100 miles (160 kilometres) per hour, the severe gale caused power cuts to more than 55,000 customers in northern England, the region's electricity utility said.

Express train services were suspended north of Newcastle and roads closed by fallen debris in parts of Scotland, while snowfall from Friday afternoon brought disruption to routes more widely.

The snow and fallen trees caused road blockages across northern England and Scotland, forcing many drivers to sleep in their vehicles overnight, according to traffic police and social media.

Around 120 lorries were "stuck in the snow" on one section of motorway between Manchester and Leeds in northern England, police said, tweeting pictures of the road blanketed in white before snow ploughs could be deployed.

While the winds had eased by Saturday morning, the Met Office warned conditions would remain challenging because of ice and snow, and the public was urged to avoid non-essential travel.

(Source: AFP)

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