Near-80mph gusts as Storm Erik sweeps over UK

By Tom Horton, Press Association

Gusts of up to 80mph hit the UK as Storm Erik blew across the country, causing deaths and delaying the transport network.

On Saturday a kitesurfer died amid strong winds in an incident on the Saunton Sands beach in north Devon, although a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police would not confirm whether the death was weather-related.

On Friday morning a 50-year-old man died on the A384 in Buckfastleigh, Devon, and in Wales a van driver was killed after he collided with a fallen tree on the B4306 between Pontyberem and Llannon in west Wales.

Tourists brave the strong winds and rain on Millennium Bridge in central London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Road and rail users were faced with delays as a result of the weather with speed limits put in place on the East Coast Main Line and drivers advised to take extra care.

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for strong winds on Saturday covering much of Wales, central and northern England and southern Scotland.

A separate yellow weather warning for heavy rain was issued for northern Scotland.

The Met Office said wind speeds of 75mph were recorded in Powys, Wales, and 74mph in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, adding that across the rest of the country gusts between 40 and 50mph were typical.

London North Eastern Railway said an 80mph speed restriction was placed on trains between Leeds and York because of the wind, meaning journeys were delayed.

Speed restrictions were also placed on trains between Newcastle and Carlisle, according to rail operator Northern.

Traffic on the Dartford Crossing over the River Thames was restricted to two lanes and speeds of 30mph because of the weather, Highways England said, and the A20 near Dover remains closed while a CCTV mast that had been seen swaying in the wind above the carriageway is repaired.

One lane was closed on the Severn Bridge between South Wales and south-west England due to the strong winds, and the A548 was closed in both directions around Mostyn, north Wales, because a tree had fallen across the carriageway.

The blustery conditions are expected to die down later this weekend but further difficult conditions are forecast.

On Saturday night there will be some rain across southern England with snow falling over hills in places.

Windsurfing in Bracklesham Bay in West Sussex (Andrew Matthews/PA)

There will be showers in western and northern areas, with frost and fog forming as winds ease. On Sunday, rain and snow over the hills in the south is expected to clear east with blustery showers following.

Conditions in the north will be brighter, with some rain and gales possible later on.