Travel disruption as Storm Ciara hits UK

Waves on Ireland's west coast

Image caption

Ireland’s west coast was buffeted first by Storm Ciara

Severe gales and heavy rain are sweeping across the UK as travellers face disruption from Storm Ciara.

Airlines have cancelled dozens of domestic and international flights, while several rail firms have urged passengers not to travel.

Ferry passengers also face delays and cancellations, while drivers have been warned to take extra care.

Amber weather warnings for wind and heavy rain are in place for most of the UK, with gusts of up to 90mph expected.

Heathrow Airport said it had taken the joint decision with its airline partners to minimise the number of flights cancelled at short notice.

British Airways has cancelled some flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City, while Virgin Atlantic has posted a number of cancelled flights on its website.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

A trampoline is disrupting train services heading to London from Sevenoaks

Image copyright
Surrey Police

Image caption

Debris has been causing problems on the roads in Surrey

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.

The rail firms which issued “do not travel” warnings for Sunday were Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Great Northern, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink and TransPennine Express.

A gust of 86mph was recorded in Capel Curig in Snowdonia, Wales, overnight. High winds reaching 70mph have already caused travel disruption in Scotland and several bridges have been closed to high-sided vehicles.

In Perth, three people were hurt after part of a pub roof collapsed, though none of them was seriously injured.

Meanwhile, Southeastern train services have been disrupted by a trampoline blowing onto the line.

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

Image copyright
Met Office

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

Getty Images

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.

Other effects of the storm include:

  • The London Winter Run 10k – due to be attended by 25,000 runners – was cancelled
  • Horse racing at Exeter has been called off
  • London’s eight Royal Parks, which include Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, will close on Sunday
  • RHS Garden Wisley is closed on Sunday
  • The Dartford Crossing in Kent is closed to traffic on Sunday
  • P&O has cancelled some ferry services between Dover and Calais

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

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

Have you been affected by Storm Ciara? Share your experiences by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.