04 16 2014
  6:03 am  
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(CNN) -- A major Atlantic storm pummeled southern England early Monday, knocking out power for about 220,000 homes and blocking roads and railways with fallen trees.

With gusts as strong as 99 mph battering the south coast, authorities warned travelers to prepare for disruption across the region.

Two deaths were confirmed, and a third person was reported missing.

Police in Kent said a 17-year-old girl was killed Monday morning when a tree fell on the home where she was sleeping in Hever, south of London.

A man in his 50s was killed when a tree fell on a vehicle Monday morning in Watford, northwest of London, according to Hertfordshire police.

As the storm approached, rescuers had to suspend their search for a missing teenager believed swept out to sea. The unidentified teenager disappeared from Newhaven, East Sussex, on the southern coast, according to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

People in the southwestern city of Exeter complained of powerful winds.

"It sounds as if my windows will cave in and my roof will blow off," tweeted a user under the name Lauren Hill.

Fallen trees

Gary Qualter, a milkman working in the city, said the weather wasn't too bad when he started his shift around 2 a.m. But after 3 a.m., the wind "picked up noticeably and got very strong," he said by phone.

He said he came across a fallen tree and a lot of debris strewn around, but not a great deal of major damage.

Scores of trees were also reported to have come down farther east in East and West Sussex.

The strongest wind gusts -- at 99 mph -- were recorded on the Isle of Wight, which is off the south coast, the Met Office said.

The storm cut power to people across the southern part of England.

The Energy Networks Association, which represents British and Irish power operators, said that 220,000 homes were without power in the southeast, southwest and midlands of England.

Energy companies said they were working to restore power as quickly as possible.

Flood warnings

Authorities warned that the heavy rain from the storm could cause flooding in some areas. Eighteen flood warnings are in place in the southwest, the government said.

In the southeast, Sussex Police said they had had reports of more than 125 trees down across the county. They warned drivers to be careful, especially on smaller roads.

Network Rail, which manages Britain's rail infrastructure, said more than 100 trees were on rails in the network across the southeast.

Heathrow Airport said it was reducing the number of flights Monday because of the severe weather.

Weather forecasters had said before the storm arrived that it could be the region's worst in a decade.

But they said they didn't expect the conditions to be as severe as those during the "Great Storm" of 1987, which was responsible for the deaths of 18 people in Britain and four in France.

In 1990, the "Burns Day Storm" left a trail of destruction from the Isles of Scilly to Denmark, killing 100 people, including 47 in the British Isles, according to the Met Office.

CNN's Joseph Netto, Dana Ford and Erin McLaughlin contributed to this report.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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