Entire UK facing gales and downpours as Storm Isha blows in

Fallen tree on a car in Belfast on 21 January 2024
Image caption,A tree brought down by Storm Isha fell over a car in Belfast on Sunday evening

Almost the whole of the UK is under weather warnings as strong winds from Storm Isha sweep in.

Met Office amber warnings for all areas except London and parts of the South East are in place until 06:00.

Gusts of up to 80mph (128km/h) are expected, posing a risk to life. The Met Office said it was rare for all of the UK to be under such an alert.

A red warning for gusts of up to 100mph in parts of northern Scotland is also in place until the early hours.

It warns of a “short spell of extremely strong winds leading to danger to life, structural damage and disruption” in an area stretching from Thurso and Wick in the north, Fraserburgh and Peterhead to the east and Cromarty and Nairn in the west.

Amber weather warnings covering a map of the UK

It came as Network Rail imposed a 50mph speed restrictions across most routes, with disruption likely to continue into Monday morning.

Scotland’s railway operator cancelled all of its rush-hour trains and warned services may not begin running until “later on Monday”. There are reports of trees damaging overhead power cables on some lines.

East Midlands Railway has also said delays and alterations to its services were “likely”, and LNER announced no trains will run north of Newcastle until midday.

Southeastern has cancelled early Monday morning trains before 06:00 into and out of London to allow engineers to check for debris.

Meanwhile, air traffic control restrictions have been put in place, leading to cancellations and causing some flights to divert.

A Tui flight travelling from Sharm El Sheikh to Glasgow Airport declared an emergency because of the storm and diverted to Manchester airport, and holidaymakers returning home from Tenerife on a Ryanair flight landed at Cologne Bonn airport in Germany after failing to touch down in Edinburgh.

Tens of thousands are without power, including 45,000 in Northern Ireland, 8,000 in north-west England, and 3,000 in Wales.

The two Met Office amber warnings have been in place since 18:00 GMT on Sunday. One stretches across central, eastern and western England and all of Wales.

The other covers all of Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland’s weather service Met Éireann has issued a red warning – its highest – for wind in the north-west of the country.

It said Isha would bring “severe and destructive gusts, particularly in coastal and exposed areas”.

BBC Weather’s Matt Taylor said “widespread gales” are expected across the UK

Gusts of 50 to 60mph will be felt widely across the UK with 70 to 80mph around some coasts. At Capel Curig, Snowdonia, a wind gust of 90mph was recorded on Sunday afternoon.

Additionally, there are yellow warnings for rain that cover the whole of the UK including London and parts of the South East not subject to the amber wind alerts.

Disruption could continue well into Monday’s morning rush hour.

Matt Taylor added that Storm Isha was a low-pressure weather system that brought heavy snowfall to the north-eastern US at the end of last week, and has developed as it crossed the Atlantic.

Passengers at Euston station, London,
Image caption,Train passenger Euston station wait amid train disruption

The Met Office said that there was a good chance of power cuts, which could affect mobile phone signal in affected areas, while roads and bridges are likely to be shut. Rail and bus services could face delays and cancellations.

It continued that there was a risk to life in coastal areas from large waves and debris being blown inland.

As part of wider guidance, it has also warned people to minimise risk by staying away from windows whilst at home.

There is also potential for “the odd isolated tornado” to hit western parts of the UK, Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said.

Ferry companies meanwhile announced a series of cancellations.

A spokesman for the Energy Networks Association, which represents Britain’s operators, said on Friday: “An amber warning brings an increased risk of damage to homes and vital infrastructure.

“Energy network operators are preparing to deal with any damage quickly and safely.”

The Met Office has said heavy rain could lead to flooding this week. As of 12:00 on Sunday, the Environment Agency had issued eight flood warnings, where flooding is expected in England, and 59 flood alerts, where flooding is possible.

After days of freezing temperatures and snow in some parts of the UK, higher temperatures are expected by the end of the weekend – but the Met Office has warned it may not feel warmer due to high winds.

Storm Isha follows Storm Henk, which hit the UK earlier this month, causing flooding and disruption, and is the ninth named storm since September.

The Met Office names storms when they have the potential to cause disruption or damage. The agency says it is easier for people to follow the progress of a storm on TV, radio or social media if it has a name. https://itusiapalagi.com/

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