Storms batter U.K. western coast
A train passes along the coast at Saltcoats in Scotland, Friday, as Britain braced for a combination of high tides, heavy rains and strong winds, expected to bring yet more severe flooding to many parts of the country. Danny Lawson/Associated Press
High winds, waves and tides were lashing Britain's western coast Friday in a winter storm that flooded seaside towns and low-lying areas.
Wales, southwest England and Northern Ireland were the worst-hit regions by the storm, the latest in a series of extreme winter conditions. Parts of northwestern France also suffered flooding.
A combination of heavy rain, winds gusting up to 113 km/h and exceptionally high tides sent water flooding into several British seaside towns Friday, and some western rivers burst their banks.
The U.K. Environment Agency issued 14 severe flood warnings — meaning there is a threat to life and property — as well as more than 400 less serious flood warnings and alerts.
In Belfast, residents sandbagged properties and police told people in dockside neighbourhoods they should be ready to evacuate.
Floods also washed over parts of northwestern France, as heavy rains coupled with unusually high tides left the streets of some coastal towns underwater.
Finistere — a French region jutting out into the Atlantic whose name roughly translates as "Land's End" — was under high alert Friday for flooding. In town of Quimperle, further south along the Brittany coast, shops and homes were evacuated as the Laita River overflowed its banks.