Today's weather in the UK
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Drivers stranded as storms hit UK
Vehicles have been abandoned on roads in northern England
Severe weather and heavy storms have been battering much of the UK, causing disruption and delay for travellers. Durham police have launched a rescue operation after at least 150 motorists became stuck in snow on the A66.
A rescue operation has been launched after the captain of a cargo ship was seriously injured off the Scilly Isles during a force 10 gale.
Earlier crew and passengers had to be rescued from two ships off the coast of Blackpool and on St Kilda.
Blizzards have affected much of Scotland and northern England, with snow recorded as deep as 15cm (5.9ins).
A coach carrying 40 pensioners was among the vehicles stranded on the A66, Neil Sterio of the Highways Agency told BBC News 24. "There are about 100 people still there," he said. Emergency services are evacuating rescued motorists to a hall and a pub in the village of Bowes, County Durham.
Ch Insp Graham Rankin said: "Police and volunteers are trying to make sure that vulnerable people are kept warm and fed and watered."
Robert Campbell, 32, from Penicuik, Midlothian, is a passenger in one lorry stuck on the road. He told the BBC News website: "The snowdrifts cover my boots when I go outside. They seem to have got the cars off the road, but the lorries are still stranded." Lorry driver Bob Skeldon has also been held up on the A66 since 1145 GMT. He said: "It's no longer snowing but there is still a heavy gale outside. It's not much fun being stuck here but they seem to be getting us out now."
Motorists elsewhere have been hit by high winds which have caused several accidents, and two filling stations in Cumbria have had parts of their roofs blown off. RAF helicopters will attempt to airlift the skipper of the Horn Cliff cargo vessel after he was suffered a serious injury - which medics fear may have been to his spine - in a storm, Falmouth Coastguard said.
One passenger on board suffered a broken hand and another sustained head injuries, but a spokesman said neither was serious. The ship lost about 90 containers but is not thought to be in danger of sinking. A helicopter from RAF Chivenor in Devon is refuelling at Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, and will attempt to airlift the captain at around 2100 GMT.
The spokesman added that there were 31 passengers on board, and the helicopter hoped to take seven of them. Peter Bullard of Falmouth Coastguard said of the captain: "By the nature of his injuries it looks like he's been thrown by the terrible weather."
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across the UK with the exception of south-east England. Adverse weather has left almost 3,000 homes in North Yorkshire and some 2,500 homes in East Yorkshire without power. A further 1,300 have also been affected in northern Lincolnshire. CE Electrics say they are currently unsure when power will be restored.
The trawler hit rocks on the St Kilda islands, one of the remotest parts of Britain
Earlier, rescuers airlifted 23 passengers and crew from the Riverdance freight ferry which was beached by a freak wave at Cleveleys near Blackpool on Thursday night. The freight vessel which had been taking trucks from Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland to the port of Heysham in Lancashire began listing at an angle of 60 degrees off the coast.
It is being closely monitored by the coastguard in case of any oil spills. The ferry is carrying 150 tonnes of fuel.
One of those involved in the recovery operation praised the rescue crews and the Riverdance's captain. John Matthews, from Fleetwood RNLI, said: "The conditions were terrible. I've got to say that the two lifeboat crews and the helicopters did a wonderful job. "Listening to it on the radio, everything was very calm and professional. I was quite amazed by how calm the master of the ship was."
In a separate incident, a helicopter winched 14 people to safety from the stricken trawler off St Kilda. The Spanish crew of the British-registered Spinningdale trawler have now been flown to Stornoway. Four were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia. Their vessel ran aground on rocks on one of the islands of the St Kilda archipelago - 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides. They were unable to evacuate to a life raft because of Force 9 winds.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch will launch an investigation into the incident amid fears the trawler could pose an environmental risk to the archipelago, which is a twice-listed World Heritage Site.
Jamie Ralston, the rescue centre co-ordinator at Stornoway Coastguard, told the BBC: "Our main concern ... if the vessel does break up, there was 8,000 litres of fuel oil and 450 litres of lube oil on board the vessel, is what damage that might do to the surrounding coastline and wildlife."
terri,is it really news about today's weather in UK?It sounds incredible!
Luckily, here in the south of England, there were only a few gales... nothing special.
I'm on the other side of the pond and I'm completely snowed in. Can't even get out of the driveway.
Haven't seen snow for a few years... ;-(
In the UK it's getting worse. It's still snowing.
Go to nasza-klasa.pl and see photos of my family taken this morning in the Godalming's park... no sign of snow only green grass, sunshine and lots of crocuses... you must live in different country ;-)
>>you must live in different country ;-)
no artur - just a bit further up North. Luckily, snow has now melted and we're back to normal.
I'm just joking terri, I know what the weather is like up north there... Can you belive it: I've got the telly... ;-)
I knew you were joking. Luckily today we're back to normal.
They do say however, 'that north of Watford Gap' is a different country.
My Bro lives near you then. Leicester.
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