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Storm: How the nation has been affected so far

EDITORS NOTE NUMBER PLATE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK

Police at the scene where a lorry driver has died as his HGV toppled on to a number of cars on the A801 in West Lothian as the gale-force winds brought widespread disruption to the transport network. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 5, 2013. See PA story WEATHER Winds. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

EDITORS NOTE NUMBER PLATE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK Police at the scene where a lorry driver has died as his HGV toppled on to a number of cars on the A801 in West Lothian as the gale-force winds brought widespread disruption to the transport network. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 5, 2013. See PA story WEATHER Winds. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Strong winds brought traffic and travel disruption to Yorkshire today.

Motorists are being urged take extra care over the next 24 hours as winds gust up to 80mph across the region.

In Leeds city centre, the junction around Bridgewater Place has been closed as a precaution following recommendations made at an inquest into the death of Edward Slaney in 2011 - he was killed when a lorry was blown over in high winds, crushing him.

The Met Office has issued an ‘amber warning’, which will be in place until 4pm today.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles in particular are advised to avoid exposed routes and bridges.

Also, on the east coast – covering the Whitby, Scarborough and Filey areas in North Yorkshire – people are urged to keep away from sea walls, piers and other water fronts as heavy waves are expected to crash over the sea defences.

The heavy waves are expected to hit during Thursday afternoon due to a combination of the strong wind and the high tide.

In Scotland, a lorry driver died after his HGV was blown over. Four other people were injured when the lorry overturned on to a number of cars on the A801 one mile north of Boghead Roundabout, Bathgate, West Lothian, at around 8.10am.

Thousands of train passengers in the north of England and Scotland were affected by reduced or cancelled services and the imposition of speed restrictions.

Train companies were operating amended timetables, with the changes likely to last until the afternoon.

Among many services affected was Leeds-Doncaster where operations were disrupted by debris on overhead wires near Leeds.

On First TransPennine Express, no trains were able to run between Newcastle and York apart from the 6.11am, while only the 5.36am and 7.42am ran between Carlisle and Edinburgh/Scotland.

Virgin Trains planned to run a normal timetable today with the exception of trains between Preston and Edinburgh/Glasgow Central which could be delayed by up to two hours or cancelled.

On CrossCountry services, no trains were able to run between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central/Aberdeen, while journey times between Edinburgh and York were being extended by up to two hours. Trains that normally start/terminate at Newcastle were starting/terminating at York.

To add to travellers’ difficulties, there were delays through Birmingham New Street due to signalling problems.

Further south, poor rail conditions at Tunbridge Wells in Kent led to delays to services between Hastings and Tonbridge, while a signalling problem at Gatwick led to delays to trains serving the West Sussex airport.

The entire rail network in Scotland was suspended, with trains halted at their nearest stations and passengers told to disembark after Network Rail (NR) said debris on lines and damage to equipment meant it was not safe to operate any services.

NR spokesman Nick King said: “We cannot continue to run trains with the levels of wind we are seeing.”

The bad weather also hit flights.

At Aberdeen airport, flights to Wick, Leeds Bradford and London City were among those that had to be cancelled, while at Leeds Bradford passengers were warned to expect delays.

Among Leeds Bradford flights that had to be axed were a Flybe service to Southampton, a BA flight to Heathrow and a KLM flight to Amsterdam.

Communities along the East Coast of the Humber were warned to brace themselves ahead of what is likely to be the region’s most serious coastal tidal surge for over 30 years.

This has led to a major incident being declared as emergency services and local authorities across the Humber prepare for an ingression of water during high tide periods later this evening from around 5pm onwards.

The Environment Agency and Met Office are warning that gale-force winds, large waves and a tidal surge caused by low pressure will combine with high tides today and throughout Friday and to Saturday morning, bringing a risk of significant coastal flooding.

North East Lincolnshire is most likely to be affected by the high tides leading to possible breaches from Immingham, along the coastline to the Humberston Fitties.

Residents living in the areas of Immingham, Grimsby and Cleethorpes close to the River Humber and coast line are advised to start taking precautions. Emergency services and partners are continuing to monitor the likelihood and will ensure that vulnerable members of the community are prioritized.

By 7am the Environment Agency had issued 140 flood alerts across England and Wales with 3,000 properties expected to suffer from flooding in the next 24 hours.

EA spokesman Peter Fox said: “The most important thing is that along the east coast (of England) the high tide will be hitting in the hours of darkness this evening and tonight, so people really need to take the daylight hours today to prepare for the coastal and tidal flooding that we are predicting.”

Mr Fox said evacuation in “key areas” was being discussed with the police.

Gusts of more than 90mph have been recorded in Scotland, according to MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

A gust of 92mph was recorded at Loch Glascarnoch in the Highlands, of 89mph at South Uist in the Outer Hebrides and of 72mph at Malin Head in Northern Ireland.

The Met Office has issued a wide range of weather warnings, with winds expected to gust to more than 80mph as they swing north-westerly in mid-morning, with gusts of more than 90mph in exposed parts.

Much of Scotland faces “be prepared” warnings for wind and lesser “be alert” warnings for snow, while north west and north east England, Yorkshire and Humber, the Midlands, and the east of England are under “be prepared” warnings.

 

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