News

White-out, washout

■ Heavy rain and winds up to 128kmh devastated parts of the south, aggravating areas already flooded after the wettest January since records began in 1776.

■ The Thames Barrier, a structure made of 10 steel gates each weighing 3,300 tonnes that shields central London from tidal flooding, prevented widespread damage in the capital after the downpour.

This winter's rains saw the Thames record some of its highest levels for 60 years.

■ More than 2,000 army, navy and air force personnel have been deployed across Britain to help flood-hit communities.

■ 70 per cent of England's fire and rescue services are working on the flood and storm rescue effort.

Tornado attack jets and Sentinel surveillance planes have flown missions over deluged areas, using optical and radar imaging to help civilian authorities coordinate their response, Britain's Ministry of Defence said.

■ 22 severe flood alerts indicating a risk to life are in place, mostly in the south-east of England.

■ Britain has borrowed eight "very high volume pumps" from the Dutch government.

■ The situation is also set to get worse as torrential downpours forecast for this weekend could see rivers reaching dangerously high levels.

■ The Environment Agency said Friday's rainfall would send waters on the Thames and other rivers even higher, flooding hundreds more properties.

■ It would be "many days", and possibly weeks, before flooded rivers recede.

100 car

pile-up

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, a highway which runs about 580km across the US state, was turned into a carpark after as many as 100 vehicles were involved in a chain-reaction of car crashes on Friday.

Investigators are still trying to piece together the mega-crash. Police at the scene believe that icy conditions and sun glare were factors.

"This is the one of the largest crashes that I've ever heard of (in terms of) volume, size and scope," Trooper Adam Reed, with the Pennsylvania State Police, told the New York Daily News.

"We're certainly fortunate that there were no fatalities."

"The road conditions were deceiving," he said. "It could be something a simple as someone slowing down and the other traffic not being able to stop in time. It could lead to something like this."

About 30 people were taken to hospital. The 12km stretch between two exits reopened after a seven-hour shutdown.

Pregnant woman

killed, baby saved

Doctors have managed to save the life of an unborn baby after his mother was knocked over and killed by a snow plough in Brooklyn, New York.

Ms Min Lin, who was eight months pregnant, was hit in a grocery store carpark on Thursday.

She was rushed to a hospital and doctors were able to perform an emergency caesarean section to deliver her baby boy, the Mail Online reported.

Ms Lin went into cardiac arrest after being backed into by the snow plough, the police said. She died at the hospital.

She had been loading groceries into a car in the carpark next to a market when the incident happened.

She was with her husband at the time of the collision. He did not suffer any injuries, CBS New York reported.

Woman motorist

killed

A woman motorist was killed after part of a building collapsed on a car outside the Holborn Underground station in London.

Large chunks of masonry fell on to the vehicle on Friday night during heavy rain, the Metropolitan Police said.

Firefighters freed the driver - a 49-year-old woman - and a 25-year-old man who was trapped in the back seat, but the woman died at the scene, The Mirror reported.

The man suffered leg injuries. He and a 24-year-old woman, who managed to free herself from the rear of the car, were taken to hospital.

A fourth person, believed to be a male passer-by, was also injured and taken to hospital, the report added. The man who was in the car is in stable condition.

Freak wave slams

into cruise ship

A passenger on a cruise ship was killed in the English Channel and another airlifted to shore after the vessel was hit by a freak wave on Friday.

Water came crashing through a window of the ship, injuring a number of the 735 mainly British passengers.

The 85-year-old man died after being airlifted off the ship. The second passenger taken to shore was a woman in her 70s, The Independent reported.

The huge wave battered the 22,000-tonne British cruise ship Marco Polo, as it headed for its home port of Tilbury in Essex following a 42-night voyage.

A number of other passengers received minor injuries and were treated on board. The vessel, which had visited South America and the Caribbean, was due to dock today.

■ The deadly storm that pummelled the US East Coast has struck eastern Canada.

■ About 57cm of snow was reported in one Pennsylvania county.

Upstate New York: 68.5cm

Washington, DC: 23cm

New York City: 25cm

■ At least 25 people dead.

■ More than 6,500 flights nationwide grounded on Thursday and about 2,100 more on Friday.

■ About half a million people without power.

■ Many schools remained closed in eight states from Virginia to Maine.

■ The heavy snow has depleted US stocks of road salt. Connecticut, hit by 12 storms, requested federal assistance to help make up its shortfall.

■ In Georgia, it was estimated that five million of the state's 10 million hectares of forest land was damaged by the storm, said Georgia Forestry Commission forest management chief James Johnson.

US

Britain

SOURCES: BBC, AFP, MAIL ONLINE