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  1. ITV Report

Four dead as storm devastates UK

Stormy waters at Oulton Broad Bay in Suffolk this morning. Photo: Claire Gooda

Four people have died, hundreds of thousands of homes have been left without power, and travellers suffered transport chaos after hurricane-force conditions battered Britain.

The bodies of two people were found at an address in Hounslow, west London, after a falling tree led to a suspected gas explosion.

Detectives found the body of a man, in his 40s, at the home in Bath Road at around noon. He has been identified and next of kin have been informed.

The woman was found dead an hour and a half later and police were working to establish her identity.

Donal Drohan, 51, died as he drove through Watford in Hertfordshire, and Bethany Freeman, 17, was killed as she slept in a static caravan.

Bethany was crushed as a 30ft tree fell on the caravans she and her family were living in while renovation work was taking place at their home at Edenbridge in Kent.

She was known as "Gia" and was a sixth-form pupil at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School. In a statement on its website, the school said she was "universally respected" and "had everything to look forward to".

Mr Drohan, from Harrow, west London, was in the "wrong place at the wrong time", an officer who attended the scene said.

The officer added that a millisecond's difference would have made for "a different story".

The victim, who was originally from Waterford in Ireland, died after his car was struck by a falling tree at the eastern end of the bridge over the River Colne on Lower High Street.

The Met Office lifted its amber warning as the heart of the storm blew away from Norfolk and over the North Sea to continental Europe, leaving a trail of destruction and disruption behind it.

Winds of up to 100mph had swept through the South West, South, South East, the Midlands and the East of England after first hitting land in the early hours.

The storm, dubbed St Jude after the patron of lost causes, caused traffic problems on road, rail, air and sea.

Many train services were cancelled and some were still struggling to return to normal late in the afternoon.

Some 300,000 homes suffered power cuts.

Debris falling on to power lines caused a nuclear power station to automatically close down both its reactors, leaving its own diesel generators to provide power for essential safety systems.

Experts said that, while the gales had been relatively weak compared with the Great Storm of 1987, it had shown how much weather predictions have improved compared with 26 years ago.

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