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Flights, trains and ferries disrupted as Storm Ciara hits

Parts of the UK have been hit by winds of more than 80 miles per hour.

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Waves crash into the sea wall at Newhaven in East Sussex (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Waves crash into the sea wall at Newhaven in East Sussex (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Waves crash into the sea wall at Newhaven in East Sussex (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Storm Ciara is sweeping across the UK, with heavy rain and severe gales disrupting flights, trains and ferries.

Met Office weather warnings are in force, with gusts of more than 90 miles per hour battering parts of the country as forecasters warned flying debris could lead to injuries or endanger lives.

Three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed in Perth on Saturday evening and Bedfordshire police said emergency services were called to Flitwick on Sunday after a tree fell onto a car.

Dozens of domestic and international flights have been cancelled, while rail companies in England, Scotland and Wales have urged passengers not to travel and say they will operate reduced timetables and speed restrictions on Sunday.

Drivers were warned they face treacherous conditions with reports of fallen trees and other debris blocking roads, while firefighters in Blackpool had to rescue a motorist whose car got stuck in deep floodwater.

The Queen did not attended church in Sandringham due to high winds in the area.

Storm Ciara also disrupted Sunday’s sporting programme, as horse racing, rugby union, rugby league and football fixtures, including the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham in Manchester, were all postponed.

A trampoline blown onto train tracks in Chelsfield, south London, disrupted rail services from the South East into the capital.

And a North Wales Twitter user shared footage of rough seas flooding roads and bringing water to his front door on Tremadoc Bay in Criccieth, Gwynedd.

“This is quite an exceptional storm and I haven’t seen wind this strong for quite a few years,” 58-year-old company director Gethin Jones told the PA news agency.

Gusts of 93 miles per hour were recorded in Aberdaron, a village at the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, in north Wales, while Cumbria saw 151.8mm of rain in 24 hours.

The town of Appleby-in-Westmorland in the county was hit by severe flooding as the River Eden burst its banks, with residents battling to protect their homes.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service urged people not to drive through floodwater after they rescued a number of motorists.

Met Office meteorologist Helen Roberts said “quite exceptional” gusts of between 60 and 70mph would be seen in inland areas, with the worst of the weather likely to hit before 6pm, although warnings are in place until 9pm.

Traffic passes through water on the A66 near Bowes in County Durham
Traffic passes through water on the A66 near Bowes in County Durham (Owen Humphreys/PA)

“As well as the strength of the wind there is the rain to come today,” she said.

“So far, we have seen some impact from the rain, which has been heavy and persistent across Northern Ireland and northern England in the last 24 hours.

“It is likely we will see further impact from the wind such as falling debris, roof tiles coming off, branches and trees down, with disruption to travel as well.”

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

British Airways said in a statement: “Like all airlines operating into and out of the UK tomorrow, we are expecting to be impacted by the adverse weather conditions across parts of the UK on Sunday.”

The airline said it was offering rebooking options for customers on domestic and European flights flying to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City on Sunday.

Virgin Atlantic has posted a list of cancelled flights on its website. It said it was “contacting affected customers and rearranging their travel arrangements”.

Ferries have also been disrupted, as P&O said all services at the Port of Dover were suspended due to strong winds and Mersey Ferries cancelled all services until further notice.

The train firms which have issued “do not travel” warnings are Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Great Northern, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink and TransPennine Express.

Avanti West Coast has taken the decision not to run trains north of Preston today until further notice due to the impact of Storm Ciara.

Winter weather Feb 9th 2020
Damage to one of the stands at Wisbech Town Football Club in Cambridgeshire (Joe Giddens/PA)

Strong winds have the potential to damage overhead electrical wires and tracks due to debris or falling trees and the disruption could continue into Monday morning as repair work may be hampered by the conditions.

Officials also warned of possible damage to buildings and the chance of power cuts as thousands of homes around the country were left without power.

The Environment Agency has issued a severe flood warning, meaning there is a danger to life, for the River Nidd at Pateley Bridge and Bewerley, in North Yorkshire.

There are also more than 200 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected and immediate action is required, and more than 177 alerts indicating flooding is possible.

Chris Wilding, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said:  “Some significant river flooding is possible across parts of the north of England today due to heavy, persistent rain and severe gale force winds associated with Storm Ciara. We urge people in at-risk areas to remain vigilant.

“Minor coastal flooding impacts are also possible for parts of the south, west and north-east England coast, where high tides, large waves and coastal gales combine.

“We advise people to check their flood risk, stay safe and avoid activities such as storm selfies.”

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Flooded streets in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Humberside Police said the Humber Bridge was closed to all traffic until further notice due to strong winds.

According to the Humber Bridge website, it is only the second time in its history that the bridge has been closed entirely.

London’s eight Royal Parks, which include Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, were all closed on Sunday.

The opening ceremony of Galway’s year as European Capital of Culture, due to take place on Saturday evening, was cancelled due to bad weather buffeting Ireland’s west coast.

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Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill Co Galway is battered by waves (Liam McBurney/PA)

The London Winter Run 10k event – due to be attended by 25,000 runners – was cancelled after organisers said they were “not able to guarantee the safety of our runners, crew and volunteers”.

Storm Ciara was named by the Met Office on Wednesday and is moving eastwards across the UK and Ireland.

The Met Office has an amber warning for wind in place for much of England and Wales from 8am until 9pm, while an amber warning for rain applies to parts of Scotland.

Yellow weather warnings cover the whole UK with the heaviest rain expected over high ground.

Strong gusts will continue to hit Northern Ireland and most of Scotland after the storm has moved away on Monday with heavy snow also predicted and a yellow warning in place throughout the whole day.

The Met Office has also issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for North West England on Monday and a yellow warning for wind in the south is in place between 10am and 5pm.

PA