Storm causes major travel disruption as 99mph-winds tear across country
07:23 28 October 2013
A major storm continues to batter southern parts of the UK, with winds of almost 100mph tearing through property and causing flooding and major travel disruption.
The chaos has prompted London Mayor Boris Johnson to call and emergency resilience meeting involving all emergency services and relevant agencies later this morning.
“Clearly this has been a difficult night for many Londoners, and continues to be an incredibly trying morning,” he said.
A spokesman at Heathrow Airport said around 130 flights had been cancelled as a result of the weather.
More than 7,000 homes in the Bristol and Bath area have reportedly been left without power, flights and rail services across the country have been cancelled or delayed and there is widespread flooding in southern parts of England as rain and hurricane-force winds arrived from the South West.
Trees have been brought down by high winds, damaging property, and a number of roads left impassable by floodwater.
Only four Tube lines are unaffected by disruption caused by the storm.
Track obstructions on the Central, Circle, District, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines have led to service suspensions on each.
Services on the London Overground will not run until 9am, according to Transport for London, and the DLR is experiencing severe delays.
Main line trains operator Greater Anglia tweeted: “#UKStorm NO Greater Anglia Services until at least 10:00. Please do not set out to travel until trains are confirmed as running.”
And C2C said would “certainly” be no trains running before 12pm.
“We currently have no indication of when services will resume. We advise you not to attempt to travel,” tweeted First Capital Connect.
More than 40 main railway line blockages caused by falling trees have been cleared, but more are expected to be found, according to Network Rail.
Managing director of operations Robin Gisby said: “In four cases the train being sent through to inspect the line has hit a fallen tree and we have one train in Devon which is currently disabled following a collision with a fallen tree.”
He added: “We now expect to start services into Waterloo before 9am. Routes from Sussex, Kent and Anglia will follow. Services elsewhere into London are running but at reduced capacity and speed.”
A teenage boy is also feared dead after being swept out to sea in Newhaven, East Sussex yesterday afternoon.
The Met Office said wind reached more than 99mph on the Isle of Wight at 5am and the Environment Agency has issued 14 flood warnings for the South West, as well as 146 flood alerts for the rest of England and Wales.
Travel operators have taken major precautions to protect passengers. Many train companies in the South are running amended timetables, with some not operating at all until late morning.
On the roads both Severn bridges are closed, the A249 Sheppey Crossing in Kent is closed due to strong winds and there are 30mph speed limits on the Dartford Crossing in Kent
There are also widespread reports of local roads in Cornwall, Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex blocked or closed due to fallen trees and flash flooding.
The so-called St Jude Storm hit the South West late last night before tracking north eastwards across England and southern Wales throughout the morning.
Chris Burton, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said this morning: “The storm is currently over the south Midlands, but it is moving in a large swathe across the country.
“The strongest winds are around Dorset, Somerset and the Hampshire areas, and they are going to spread north and east in the next few hours.
“The highest winds have hit 99mph in exposed areas on the Isle of Wight. Elsewhere it has reached 80mph in Portland in Dorset and 75mph at Yeovilton in Somerset, but gusts are widely reaching 50mph.
“Over the next few hours we will be expecting gusts of 60mph in central, south-eastern areas and East Anglia, with the potential of winds reaching 80mph, possibly higher, on the south coast.
“But by mid-morning it should have eased off quite quickly and moved over the North Sea, and winds will die down by about 10am.”
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