Britain bashed by surf, blow as Storm Imogen hits

AP

A winter storm with hurricane-force winds and huge waves battered Britain’s coastline Monday, cutting power to thousands and disrupting travel across the country.

More than 15,000 homes were without power as Storm Imogen hit Ireland, Wales and southern England.

Coastal towns were soaked by sea swells caused by the combination of strong winds and high tides. Weather forecaster the Met Office said a 63-foot (19-meter) wave was recorded off St. Ives in southwest England.

Sustained winds of up to 121 mph (195 kph) — the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane — were recorded at the Fastnet lighthouse near Ireland’s southwest coast. Met Office forecaster Emma Sillitoe said gusts of 60 to 70 mph (95 to 112 kph) were expected “quite widely” before winds eased Monday evening.

The storm caused cancellations to trains, planes and ferries, and travelers were being warned to take care when driving. The Severn Bridge between England and Wales was shut because of dangerous winds.

Several buildings were damaged — including a bank that had its roof ripped off — and rescuers said two children suffered serious leg injuries when a stone wall collapsed on them in a central England village.