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The body of an elderly woman has been discovered in a flooded river after she fell into the water in Blandford, Dorset during Storm Barra. The 80-year-old woman, identified as Venetia Smith, went missing from her home on Tuesday morning. After her family called the police, her stroller was found at a bridge crossing the River Stour in the rural market town. At 3pm, her body was uncovered from the river about a mile downstream.
It is thought Storm Barra’s heavy rain and 80mph winds led to Ms Smith falling from the bridge and being swept away by the water.
A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Officers searching for a missing woman from Blandford have very sadly located a body.
“We received a report at around 11am raising concern for the welfare of 80-year-old Venetia Smith.
“Very sadly, at around 3pm officers located the body of a woman in the river near to Langton Road.
“Although formal identification has not yet taken place, it is believed to be that of Venetia.”
Chief Inspector Matt Baxter added: “Our thoughts remain with Venetia’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
“We would like to thank everyone who shared our appeals, as well as the partner agencies who assisted us with our searches.”
The tragic news comes amid triple threat weather warnings from the Met Office of heavy snow, 80mph gales and hazardous ice.
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The yellow warning for wind is expected to remain in place until 6pm today.
Although meteorologists have said they do not expect Storm Barra to be “as bad” as Storm Arwen, which less than two weeks ago left hundreds of households in the North East of England without electricity, the impact is already being felt across the country.
The Met Office has warned people to “keep travel to a minimum”.
The agency’s senior operational meteorologist Rachel Ayers told Express.co.uk: “The key thing is there are still going to be strong winds through today and to keep travel to a minimum in that warning area if it’s not essential.
“We could see some gusts a bit stronger than this 55 to 60mph for exposed coastal locations.
“The strong winds could lead to further delays for road, rail, ferry transport with bus and train services potentially being affected.
“We could see coastal routes, seafronts and coastal communities being affected by spray and large waves.”
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