Enormous waves race across Atlantic; UK braces for storm (PHOTOS)

Dan Pylas
The Associated Press
Walton Sun

LONDON — Enormous waves churned across the North Atlantic on Saturday as Britain braced for a second straight weekend of wild winter weather and flooding. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and the Royal Navy joined a search-and-rescue operation for a man who went missing overboard.

Hurricane-force winds up to 80 knots (92 mph) and monster waves that could reach over 100 feet (30 meters) high were roaring across North Atlantic, the U.S. National Weather Service's Ocean Prediction Center reported early Saturday.

The fourth storm of the winter season, dubbed Dennis, was already causing widespread travel disruptions, which are only expected to increase. Britain's Met Office issued a number of weather warnings covering most of the country.

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Heavy rain and strong winds were racing across all parts of Britain, including areas in northern England still suffering from Storm Ciara last weekend, which left eight people dead across Europe, including two in the U.K.

A search-and-rescue operation off the coast of Margate in southeast England was looking for a man who reportedly fell overboard from a vessel.

Airlines pre-emptively canceled hundreds of flights out of London and other U.K. airports on Saturday and train lines warned about possible delays and cancellations. Tens of thousands of passengers were being affected on a busy travel day for British families, as most schools in the country closed down for a mid-winter break.

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Easyjet cancelled around 230 flights in and out of the country as wind speeds are set to hit 70 mph (113 kph). British Airways also cancelled flights.

Areas in northern England, which are still recovering from Ciara, faced up to 4 1/2 inches (120 centimeters) of rain on Saturday. The country's Environment Agency said flooding is likely to be worse than last weekend — when hundreds of homes were flooded as river burst their banks — since the rain will be falling on saturated ground.

British army personnel were ready to help stretched communities in the flood-hit Calder Valley region in West Yorkshire.

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"This extra and expert resource couldn't be more welcome to support already exhausted communities and help us respond to further weather warnings across Calderdale," said local council leader Tim Swift.