Britain is facing the second day of storms as the remnants of Hurricane Katia continue to batter vast swathes of the country today.
Severe weather warnings have been issued for Scotland and northern England, with winds expected to reach 60 mph (100 km/h) later in the day.
Power outages, falling masonry, downed trees and transport chaos struck as gales reached 82 mph (130 km/h) in Wales and north of England, reviving memories of the Great Storm of 1987.
Severe weather warnings have been issued for Scotland and northern England, with winds expected to reach 60 mph (100 kmh) later in the day
A yellow alert – the second-highest of four warning levels – had been issued by the Met Office for much of the country as roads were closed and ferry services cancelled.
Ten flood warnings were issued as waves and high tides threatened to overwhelm coastal defences in the North East and southern Scotland.
Thousands of homes, shops and businesses across central England were blacked out for hours as wind speeds of more than 50 mph (80 km/h) damaged an overhead power line. Central Networks said 2,000 homes in Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Gloucestershire were left without electricity.
Tour of Britain cycle race was cancelled over safety fears.
The remnants of Hurricane Katia hit Britain yesterday morning, bringing the worst storms since the remnants of Hurricane Lili wreaked havoc in 1996.
Met Office forecaster Sarah Holland said today:
“Winds will reach 60mph in exposed areas of northern England and southern Scotland with 50mph inland, and about 30-40mph in the Midlands.
“High tides and the full moon mean there is a higher risk of tidal flooding.”
The Environment Agency issued nine flood alerts on Monday for the north-west coast from Morecambe Bay in Cumbria down to Blackpool, North Wales and Anglesey, and one for the north-east coast at Bridlington in Yorkshire.
The blustery conditions will tail off in the Midlands and south of England by Wednesday and across the whole country by Thursday.
The storm caused havoc for passenger aircraft attempting to land at England’s highest airport, Leeds Bradford International Airport in Yorkshire.
A Ryanair jet was forced to abort its landing after being blown sideways across the runway, while a Flybe jet managed to touchdown safely despite heavy winds interfering with its flight path.
Ports around Britain have been battered by huge waves leading to the cancellation of ferries while trees have been uprooted, causing damage to cars and houses.
Increasing wind speeds as the hurricane approached forced the cancellation of high speed ferries to France from Portsmouth.
The transportation company, Brittany Ferries said it was scrapping its high speed ferries on two crossings scheduled from Portsmouth to Cherbourg yesterday.
Safety regulations state that when waves reach a height of 10 feet (3 meters) or more the high speed crossings must not go ahead
Although the Hurricane Katia has been downgraded, it still appears to create the worst storms since 1996, when Hurricane Lili brought 90 mph (about 150 km/h) winds to these shores.
Britain was hit today by the worst storm since 1996, as the swirling remnants of Hurricane Katia have crossed the Atlantic and reached the land in the morning, sweeping across large swathes of the country.
Weather forecasters warned that gusts of up to 80 mph (c 135 km/h) would batter buildings, uproot trees and cause travel chaos.
They also issued urgent weather alerts for Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North East, North West and parts of the Midlands and Wales as the storm prepares to make its way eastwards.
Hurricane Katia's remnants hit Britain this morning
High speeds winds will be accompanied by heavy rain and the Environment Agency has issued several flood alerts for inland and coastal areas.
Wind speeds were increasing as the hurricane Katia remnants approached, forcing the cancellation of high speed ferries to France from Portsmouth.
According to Brittany Ferries, the company was scrapping its high speed ferries on two crossings scheduled from Portsmouth to Cherbourg today.
Safety regulations state that when waves reach a height of 10 feet (about 3 meters) or more the high speed crossings must not go ahead.
A Brittany Ferries spokesman said it hopes to have all services operating as usual by tomorrow.
Another alert – which warns that flooding is possible – has been issued along the North Sea coast in Yorkshire between Bridlington and Barmston with people being told to be aware of overtopping spray and waves at high tide.
The western coast of Anglesey has also been issued with an alert with waves of up to two metres high expected to lash certain areas, while water levels at Derwent Water, Cumbria, remain high.
According to the Met Office, the South East and South West will largely escape its wrath, but wind speeds are still expected to reach up to 50 mph in places.
Weather forecasters issued a yellow alert, warning people to be on their guard, for more than half of the country and placed several areas on amber alert – the second-highest of four levels.
British weather forecasters warned that gusts of up to 80 mph (c 135 kmh) would batter buildings, uproot trees and cause travel chaos
Other warnings said the storm could disrupt road and rail networks and damage buildings, and trees could be uprooted.
The worst conditions will be in northern and western parts of England and central and southern Scotland. The Environment Agency issued flood alerts for the North East, North West and Wales.
All coastal areas are said to be at greatest risk of flooding with strong winds to gales, large waves and a surge coinciding with high tides.
The storm will continue into tomorrow before petering out on Wednesday. Homeowners were warned to check for loose tiles and bring garden furniture indoors to help prevent flying debris.
Billy Payne, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said:
“The brunt of the the wind will go through central and southern Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and North Wales.
“Gusts are from 60-70mph in some places, possibly higher, especially in exposed places in parts of western Scotland like the islands and hilly areas.
“It will be quite windy in the south (of England) too with gusts of 40-50mph.
“There will be quite a lot of rain, perhaps heavy outbreaks over the next couple of days.
“The heavy rain will be mostly confined to the north and west of Scotland today and tomorrow. There is a risk of some flooding in north-west Scotland with the high rainfall totals.”
Ferry services and transport routes were already reporting disruption this morning.
Although the hurricane Katia has been downgraded, it still seems to create the worst storms since 1996 when Hurricane Lili brought 90 mph winds to these shores.
Met Office forecaster Tom Morgan said:
“In areas with amber warnings there will be 60-70mph gusts in many places and a chance of 80mph in a few exposed locations.”
The high speeds winds will be accompanied by scattered rain and some hail storms on the east and south coasts.
Despite the harsh conditions, parts of the South East are expected reach 21C (69F) this afternoon, but wind speeds could reach 50 mph.