Tropical storm Katia slams into Ireland, Britain

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) — Tropical Storm Katia shut down roads and power and led to one death yesterday in Ireland and Britain, where residents braced for the strongest wind gusts in 15 years.

Forecasters in both countries said gusts topped 80 mph (125 kph) as the storm — previously a hurricane as it roared across the Atlantic — made driving, shipfaring and even walking dangerous in broad swathes of Ireland, Scotland and northern England.

In north-east England’s County Durham, a driver died after a tree fell on a car on the highway, Durham police said. Officers later warned all drivers to be careful driving through the high winds.

CE Electric UK, which provides power in the north east of England, said it was working to restore the power supply to about 10,000 properties.

Most ferry services between Ireland and Britain were cancelled, and fishing boats along the Atlantic coasts of Ireland and Scotland were warned to head into port.

Britain’s government forecasting service, the Met Office, told the public to be ready for the strongest winds since October 1996, when the tail end of Hurricane Lili killed five Britons and caused an estimated 150 million pounds ($250 million) of damage there.

The Met Office said winds were averaging 55 mph (88 kph) while the strongest reported gust so far was 82 mph (128 kph) at a mountain station in North Wales. Gusts in the Northern Ireland border town of Castlederg reached 74 mph (118 kph).

Heavy rainfall hit the north of Ireland and central Scotland, where Transport Minister Keith Brown reassured travelers that emergency crews were ready to handle accidents, road blockages and power outages.


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