Britain hit by floods, power cuts at Christmas
LONDON (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Britons will remain without electricity on Christmas Day after torrential rainfall flooded homes and hurricane-force winds battered the country.
Two severe flood alerts are in force along with nearly 300 secondary warnings, largely across southern and central England, Britain's environment agency said on Wednesday.
Around 50,000 homes are likely to remain without power throughout Christmas Day according to the Energy Networks Association which represents wire and pipe companies.
Tens of thousands of people have also had their power cut off in France where high winds and heavy rain were still sweeping across the south of the country.
Winds of up to 90 mph (145 kph) hit both Britain and France on December 23 and Christmas Eve, with downpours forcing cancellations of rail, flight and ferry services at a peak travel time.
Five people - including a man who tried to rescue his dog from a river - have died in Britain over the last three days in accidents linked to the high winds and heavy rainfall.
Police in Dorset, southwest England, evacuated over 100 people in the early hours of Wednesday in two separate locations due to fears of flooding from a nearby river.
There were more power cuts at London's second airport Gatwick on Christmas Day as stranded travellers tried to catch flights. Power failures led to angry scenes between passengers and staff on Tuesday.
"Due to adverse weather in the last 48 hours there are still power outages in parts of our North Terminal, these are causing delays to departing flights," said a message on the airport's website.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Pravin Char and Ruth Pitchford)
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