Storm threatening 100 mph gusts hits soggy Britain

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British army soldiers place sandbags at the entrance to a flooded house at Chertsey, England, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. The River Thames has burst its banks after reaching its highest level for many years, flooding riverside towns upstream of London, including Chertsey which is about 30 miles west of central London. Some hundreds of troops have been deployed to assist with flood protection and to get medical assistance to the sick and vulnerable.(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

LONDON (AP) — Britain's west coast is being battered by wind gusts that could reach 100 mph (160 kph) as a new storm pummels the flood-stricken country.

The Meteorological Office has issued a highest-level red warning of "exceptionally strong winds" for west Wales and northwest England.

It says gusts of between 80 and 100 mph could cause widespread structural damage and loss of power.

England had its wettest January since records were first kept almost 250 years ago, and the country has been lashed by wind and rain since December.

Resulting floods have drenched the southwestern coast of England, the low-lying Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley, west of London, where hundreds of properties have been swamped as the river burst its banks this week.

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