Gale-force 65mph winds spark commuter chaos with trains cancelled, parks shut and the Severn Bridge closed – and there’s more chaos to come with snow on the way in the north
Roads, train lines, parks and golf courses were shut across southern England today as 65mph winds swept in – while the North and Scotland prepared for more snow.
Green spaces across London including Highgate Wood, Queen’s Park and the children’s playgrounds at Hampstead Heath were closed for safety reasons.
The Met Office issued a wind warning until 6pm today covering the South and Midlands which said travel delays, damage to trees and power cuts were all possible.
Separate snow and ice warnings were also in place today, covering northern England until 10am tomorrow and Scotland and Northern Ireland until 11am tomorrow.
The Metropolitan line in London was part suspended due to a gazebo on the track, with no service between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Watford on the northbound local.
Chiltern Railways said trees were blocking the railway both between Stratford-Upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, and between Wembley Stadium/Harrow-on-the-Hill and London Marylebone – causing train cancellations and delays for morning commuters.
And LNER said a plastic sheet caught on the overhead electric wires at Newark North Gate meant the northbound line was blocked, which would delay trains in the area.
Great Northern said an object had become caught on the overhead electric wires between Potters Bar and Welwyn Garden City, which was disrupting its services.
In Scotland, ScotRail said there were emergency speed restrictions in place on the West Highland Line until 6pm which would impact journey times.
National Highways said the M48 Severn Bridge was shut in both directions due to high winds, while the A15 Humber Bridge was closed to high sided vehicles.
A woman walks through the high winds blowing over Waterloo Bridge in London this morning
A tree on the tracks today, affecting Chiltern Railway trains in and out of London Marylebone
Commuters walk through the high winds as they cross Waterloo Bridge in London today
An Aer Lingus aircraft arriving at Leeds Bradford Airport in West Yorkshire from Belfast City Airport this morning is blown sideways, forcing it to abort its landing in the strong winds
A commuter’s hair is blown in the strong wind as they cross Waterloo Bridge in London today
LNER said this morning that a plastic sheet caught on the overhead electric wires at Newark North Gate meant the northbound line was blocked, which would delay trains in the area
The wind warning for southern England said: ‘Strong and gusty southwesterly winds may lead to some disruption, particularly for prone high-sided vehicles.’
Forecasters said delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges were ‘likely’, and some short term loss of power and other services was ‘possible’.
They added that delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport were ‘likely’ and damage to trees is also ‘likely’, while bus and train services will ‘probably’ be affected.
South-westerly winds will widely gust to between 50 and 55 mph with gusts reaching 60 to 65mph over some exposed coasts and hills today.
Forecasters said the highest gusts were expected between mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
The snow and ice warnings for the North and Scotland warn of disruption to travel and infrastructure, with a band of gradually turning to snow from the north during this morning.
This will be initially above 200m (650ft), but later to lower levels. Up to 4cm (1.6in) of snow is possible above 200m and up to 10cm (4in) above 300m.
Forecasters said around 2cm (0.8in) may develop locally at lower levels into the evening, before rain and snow should clear to the south of the area tonight.
Occasional snow showers will then follow into the north and west of Scotland during this evening and tonight giving about 2cm (0.8in) of snow in places.
The Arctic temperatures of recent days were replaced yesterday by highs of 14.6C (58.3F) at Northolt in West London – although the low was -8.4C (16.7F) at Baltasound on the island of Unst in Shetland.
Temperatures plunged to as low as -15.7C (3.7F) in Altnaharra in the Highlands on Saturday while the highest temperature that day of 12.9C (55.2F) was recorded at St Marys Airport on the Isles of Scilly.
The Met Office had yellow warnings in place covering large swathes of the country last week as Storm Larisa battered parts of the UK with gales and blizzards.
Drivers were urged to get behind the wheel only if necessary, with some motorists left stranded due to heavy snowfall.
In North Wales two hill-walking families had to be rescued after they were caught in poor weather on Saturday.
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