Strong winds sweep across Britain
Commuters faced a second day of travel disruption this week as another front of strong winds blew across Britain, with some gusts peaking at more than 90mph.
Motorists were warned to be on alert for fallen trees, while a number of rail services were delayed, many also because of trees toppled overnight.
A severe weather warning imposed by the Met Office remained in place for some areas in the north of England, north Wales, Northern Ireland and the south of Scotland, but forecasters said the winds should ease as the morning progressed.
The weather front follows an even stronger storm on Tuesday which left two people dead and saw lorries blown onto their sides and the port of Dover closed for hours.
The strongest gust recorded overnight on Wednesday and into Thursday was 93mph at High Bradfield, near Sheffield in South Yorkshire, the Met Office said. A gust of 87mph was recorded in Capel Curig in Conwy, north Wales, while the Hebridean island of Islay recorded one of 82mph.
Aisling Creevey, of the MeteoGroup forecasting organisation, said the day would remain “very windy”, adding: “We have a cold front sweeping down across northern Britain that’s going to clear south through the morning. We are going to see quite a chilly day, with strong and gusty winds through much of the morning.”
Humberside police warned drivers to be careful after a number of trees were brought down overnight. Fallen trees were blocking roads in parts of Grimsby, Hull, Bridlington, Driffield and Snaith, a spokesman said.
“Motorists are urged to take extra care and beware of obstructions that may have blown into the road, and pedestrians are also asked to take extra care as numerous trees have blown down and more may do so before the winds calm down,” he added.
The Humber Bridge and the M62 over the Ouse Bridge, near Howden, are both closed to high-sided vehicles. A lorry driver was taken to hospital when an HGV overturned on the A1 at Leeming.
A North Yorkshire police spokesman said the force had received a “high number” of weather related calls on Wednesday night, with several lorries blown over.
Delays are expected at the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex, with all traffic having to use tunnels following the closure of the adjacent QEII bridge on Wednesday night due to the anticipated winds.
There was similar disruption to rail services, with a number of trees on the line between Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, and London’s Marylebone station, causing diversions and cancellations on the busy commuter route.
Similar problems were reported on services between Peterborough and King’s Cross station in London, with trains from Stratford-on-Avon to Birmingham and from Portsmouth to Reading. Overhead wire problems were causing delays to TransPennine Express and Virgin services passing through Cumbria.
In Scotland, a number of train services remained cancelled or replaced by buses following the effects of Tuesday’s storm, including around Glasgow, Edinburgh and the west Highlands.
One of the men who died on Tuesday was named by police as Christopher Hayes, a 51-year-old father of three, who was killed when a tree crushed his parked van in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The second death was of a crew member on board a tanker hit by a large wave off the coast of the south Devon/Cornwall border.
Pritchard-Gordon Tankers Ltd, which owns the vessel, would not name the victim, a Briton, but said: “Two crew members sustained injuries when struck by a wave whilst on deck, and a third was injured on attempting to assist. All three were taken to hospital by helicopter rescue.
“Tragically, despite receiving medical attention on board the vessel and helicopter, one of the men did not survive.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010