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Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to two people killed in west London when hurricane-force winds uprooted a tree during St Jude's storm, causing an explosion.
46 year old Suhail Akhtar and his 34 year old girlfriend Dorota Kolasinska were found dead under rubble after their home in Hounslow was destroyed by a suspected gas mains blast.
The couple, who had reportedly been together for around 10 years, were among four people killed as the worst storm to hit the UK for years swept through southern England leaving a trail of destruction.
Ms Kolasinska, who had been working for Hackney Council for nine months as a traffic light sequencer, was described as "extremely popular and hard-working".
Those who knew Mr Akhtar, who had worked as an IT contractor for services firm Atos, said they were "devastated" by the news.
Speaking for the first time about their deaths, Mr Akhtar’s family told the Evening Standard:
“Suhail and Dorota’s loss has left an insurmountable void in our lives.
Suhail’s passion for living life to the max and their exuberance touched all our lives. It will be our enduring memory of them both.”
Three other people were killed in the blast on Bath Street, where three houses were completely destroyed and two more left with damages.
Latest figures this morning show there are still 15,000 properties in the East of England and 3,500 in the South East without power. The counties back to normal are:
- Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire
- Engineers are aiming aim to have 98 per cent of power supplies affected by the storm restored by the end of today
- The final homes should be restored by the end of the week
When the storms hit on Monday morning, drivers in one part of east London were forced to dodge a giant beach ball found rolling around a busy roundabout. A team from the council was sent out to deflate it.
Latest figures from UK Power Networks show that power has been restored to the majority of customers affected by high winds. There are currently 48,000 properties in the East of England and 9,600 in the South East still without power.
Overall the storm affected nearly 600,000 customers.
The St Jude's Day storm battered parts of the capital today causing destruction and claiming three lives. A man driving through Watford was killed when a tree came down on his car. Two others died when another falling tree caused a gas explosion. Luke Hanrahan looks at the destruction it caused.
Transport is slowly getting back to normal after a day of commuter chaos caused by the hurricane-force winds that whipped across the country.
A massive clear-up operation was launched after 200 trees fell on to rail lines, causing cancellations of many main line services at the time when most would be travelling to work on a Monday morning.
London-bound commuters on the Tube also found the open-air sections of the Underground network badly affected.
The family of Donal Drohan, who was killed when a tree fell on his car in Watford, have paid tribute to the "best husband and father anyone could wish for".
The tribute read: “Donal was a loving husband and father of three. He was the best husband and father anyone could wish for. You couldn't find anyone who had a bad word to say about him.
“He was very supportive to everybody who knew him and couldn't say no to helping out with anything.
"He was an active member of the community who was involved with local groups and had recently helped Team Harrow of The Challenge Network, helping to shape the lives of hundreds of young people within the local community.”
The incident occurred at around 6.50am this morning and the 51-year-old, originally from Waterford in Ireland, died at the scene.
A man who died after a tree fell on his car in Watford was named tonight by Hertfordshire Police as 51-year-old Donal Drohan from Harrow, originally from Waterford in Ireland.
A man who died after a tree fell on his car in Watford has been named as Donal Drohan from Harrow.
Hertfordshire Police say the 51-year-old was originally from Waterford in Ireland.
David Cameron has said the thoughts of all MPs were with the families of the four people who died after hurricane-force conditions swept the UK.
Describing the storm that has battered the country as one of "worst storms for years", Mr Cameron said: "I know the thoughts of the whole House will be with the families and friends of the four people that we know have lost their lives."
The Prime Minister went on to pay tribute to the work of the emergency services: "I'm sure the whole House will join me in paying tribute to our emergency services and to all those who have been working to clear up the debris and to get our transport system moving again.
"All the agencies involved are working as fast as possible to get things back to normal."