Storm Ciara: Flights cancelled as UK braces for gales

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In January, Storm Brendan brought gusts of more than 80mph to parts of the UK

Airlines have cancelled dozens of domestic and international flights as Storm Ciara approaches the UK.

Severe weather warnings have been issued for the weekend, with strong winds of up to 80mph and widespread heavy rain expected.

Several rail firms urged passengers not to travel and said they would operate reduced timetables with speed restrictions in place on Sunday.

Ferry passengers also face disruption, as operators cancel some services.

Heathrow Airport announced it had taken the joint decision with its airline partners to “consolidate” Sunday’s flight schedule in a bid to minimise the number of flights cancelled.

British Airways said it was offering flexible rebooking options for all customers on domestic and European flights flying to and from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City on Sunday.

Virgin Atlantic has posted a number of cancelled flights on its website.

High winds with gusts of up to 70mph have already caused travel disruption in Scotland and several bridges have been closed to high-sided vehicles.

In Perth, three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed.

The fire service said three people were passed into the care of the ambulance service, though none of them was seriously injured.

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Met Office

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The Met Office’s amber warning for wind covers Wales and most of England

An amber warning for wind is in place across much of England and Wales from 08:00 until 21:00 GMT on Sunday. The Met Office advises wind-blown debris and large waves could pose a danger to life.

Yellow weather warnings now cover the whole of the UK until midnight on Sunday.

An amber warning for rain is in place in parts of Scotland, meaning homes and businesses are likely to be flooded and some communities could be cut off by impassable roads.

Visitors battle strong winds during a thunderstorm at the annual Whitby Regatta, August 2019

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Weather warnings guide

  • YellowSevere weather possible, plan ahead, travel may be disrupted

  • AmberIncreased likelihood of impact, eg travel delays, power cuts

Source: Met Office

The heaviest rain is expected over high ground where 50-70mm is expected, with as much as 100mm in a few locations.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued more than 50 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – in Scotland, while there are 22 in place in England, and seven in Wales.

Gusts of 50-60mph are expected quite widely across inland areas as the storm passes over the country, reaching 80mph in coastal areas – particularly in south-east England and northern Scotland.

Network Rail has imposed a blanket speed restriction of 50mph across the network on Sunday, warning passengers to only travel by train that day “if absolutely necessary”.

It said there was the potential for damage to overhead lines and tracks caused by debris or fallen trees.

Avanti West Coast, London North Eastern Railway and South Western Railway were among the train companies which said customers with tickets for Sunday would also be able to use them on some services on Monday.

Grand Central cancelled all its services on the East Coast Main Line on Sunday.

Other effects of the storm include:

  • The London Winter Run 10k – due to be attended by 25,000 runners – was cancelled
  • London’s eight Royal Parks, which include Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, will close on Sunday
  • RHS Garden Wisley will close on Sunday
  • Humber Bridge warning of possible closure to all traffic on Sunday
  • P&O has cancelled seven ferries because of conditions in the Irish Sea

In January, Storm Brendan swept into the UK, leading to power cuts and travel disruption in parts of the UK.

This year’s storm names have already been chosen, with Dennis due to be the name for the next storm.


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