Woman dies in Dorset after car hits tree amid high winds

A woman has died after her car hit a tree in south-west England, police have said, citing reports the tree fell on her vehicle.

Dorset police were called before 9am on Saturday to the incident on Verwood Road, in a rural area north of Bournemouth, but the woman – in her 60s – was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her next of kin has been informed and the road remains closed while emergency services are at the scene. “I am appealing to anyone who was travelling in the area at the relevant time and either witnessed the collision or captured any of the incident on dashcam to please contact Dorset police,” Sgt Lee Savage said.

“I would like to thank motorists for their patience and understanding while the road closures are in place. These are absolutely necessary to allow emergency services to safely respond to the incident.”

Throughout Saturday, strong winds brought down trees and scaffolding, leaving cars damaged and travel plans disrupted as gusts of more than 100mph hit parts of the UK.

Ferry services between Dover and Calais were suspended as ships were unable to proceed into the port because of high winds. Fallen trees blocked a train line between Woking and Weymouth, leading to cancellations and delays.

Elsewhere there were speed restrictions imposed on trains and Dorset police posted a photograph showing scaffolding that had collapsed on to parked cars, while several ships were seen to have piled up.

The day saw heavy rain across the south-west England and the Welsh borders, with wind speeds reaching 109mph at the Needles on the Isle of Wight, 83mph in Plymouth and 79mph in Culdrose, Cornwall.

“We saw heavy rain and strong winds across the UK throughout the day, particularly in southern England,” said Greg Dewhurst, a forecaster at the Met Office. “The wind will gradually come down this evening but it is still fairly gusty out there.”

There were power cuts across places in southern coastal counties, while gusts further inland reached about 40mph. “There will be showers across the country but the wind is going to be a lot lighter,” he added.

The highest rainfall was in Cornwall, where about 40mm fell, with up to 20mm across southern England. Despite earlier flood warnings, there were no such reports on Saturday evening but Dewhurst said that a combination of strong winds and rains could lead to risk of flooding from leaves coming off trees and blocking drains.

People attending fireworks displays and bonfires in the south of England were told to be mindful of the weather. London is expected to be “quite wet and windy” for much of Saturday with gusts of between 40 and 50mph.

Lewisham council, which organises the fireworks display at Blackheath, south-east London, said it would go ahead as planned. “Obviously we will continue to monitor the weather conditions,” a spokesman said. “The safety of the public is always our number one priority.