Weather: Body Found In Floods, Rain And Snow

A body has been recovered at a house in Looe, Cornwall, which was badly damaged in flooding following heavy rains last night, firefighters said.

The front wall of the three-storey building crumbled away after downpours caused mud and debris to crash into the back of the property.

More than a dozen residents were evacuated from the building earlier.

The body recovered from the site is still to be formally identified, but fire crews had been searching the wrecked building for Susan Norman, who is said to be in her 60s, for several hours. 

There was widespread flooding across the South West after rain hit on Thursday night. It then moved further north falling as snow in central and northern England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Breakdown services reported there had been thousands of call-outs from motorists, while in Northern Ireland more than 40,00 homes remain without power, as well as 1,500 in Cumbria.

A complete blackout was reported for between 15 and 30 minutes across Belfast on Friday evening.

Schools, roads and airports have also been closed.

Sky's weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar warned the bad weather could continue to cause problems into the weekend.

"There'll be more snow tonight, from around the M4 up into central Scotland and across the north of Ireland, while southern counties will have yet more rain," she said.

"Saturday will see snow over central parts slowly fading, but there'll be a raw wind and it will stay near freezing away from the South West.

"The average temperature for the month so far, combining day and night, has been around 3C, well below the long term average of 6C. It's highly unlikely to be record breaking (the coldest March on record was in 1962, at 1.9C), but it could well be the coldest for over 25 years."

Up to eight inches (20.3cm) of snow is expected to hit the worst-affected parts of the North West, North Wales and southwest Scotland.

Higher areas could even see up to 16in (40.6cm), while bitterly cold gale-force winds create blizzard-like conditions and plunge temperatures down well below freezing.

Further floods were also expected in the South West with 12 warnings and 43 alerts in place.

Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying match against Russia at Windsor Park in Belfast was postponed from Friday evening to Saturday despite ground staff working through the day to clear the pitch.

Drifts of up to 40cm (15.7 inches) were reported in some areas.

In Cumbria, police said a reception centre at a school to shelter motorists who had become stranded after snow had made several key roads impassable.

Non-essential staff at the Sellafield nuclear site were sent home early as local schools were closed and transport disrupted because of the bad weather.

Electricity North West said it was considering using helicopters to get engineers to some of the 1,500 properties without power in across the county.

The atrocious weather also caused trouble at sea, with an RAF rescue crew having to be called to pluck a seriously injured French fisherman from his boat in howling winds and lashing rain.

In the West Midlands, nearly 230 schools shut their doors to pupils, with many reporting burst pipes and frozen heating systems.

Staffordshire was worst hit with 170 closing their doors, but there was also disruption in Walsall, Dudley and Wolverhampton.

Another 200 schools closed across North Wales and scores were shut across Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

In Birmingham, melting snow caused gridlock after it flooded the St Chad's Queensway tunnel. Engineers spent all morning trying to pump the water back out of the tunnel.

Food supplies were being airlifted to the Isle of Man as the severe weather disrupted scheduled ferry services.

Co-operative Food, which has 10 stores across the island, commissioned a Hercules aircraft to fly from Manchester to Ronaldsway Airport with around 18 tonnes of food and drink onboard.