Storm Aileen: Commuters braced for travel disruption


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Media captionStorm Aileen will move out eastwards into the North Sea on Wednesday

Commuters are being warned to expect rush hour chaos as Storm Aileen brings strong winds to parts of the UK.

Aileen, the first named storm this season, left thousands without power overnight.

The Met Office warns gusts of up to 75mph could hit north Wales, southern parts of northern England, the north Midlands and Norfolk later.

Highways England warns of an increased risk to drivers of lorries, caravans and motorbikes being blown over.

It also advised people to take extra care and considered delaying their journey if the weather becomes more severe.

Overnight, more than 800 homes were without power in Nottinghamshire, and a further 700 homes in Lincolnshire were also affected.

Power cuts were also reported in parts of Wales and south-west England.

Police forces in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have all reported trees being blown over by the winds during the night.

Disruption is also expected to rail services during the morning rush hour.

In southern England, trees and branches have fallen on railway lines affecting some Southern and Thameslink services.

Arriva services to Shrewsbury were also been affected and, in Wales, trains between Wrexham and Ruabon were earlier disrupted.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Heavy rain and very strong winds have been forecast to affect parts of England, Wales and Scotland.

“Railway lines in areas affected by the worst weather may suffer disruption caused by falling trees and large branches, power cuts and debris being blown onto the track.”

The Met Office said there was no connection between high winds in the UK and the recent extreme weather in the Caribbean and the US.

The UK’s weather system is coming from the north, in the Atlantic, the Met Office added.

The warning for strong winds is in place until 10:00 BST, with heavy rain likely to fall until midday.

Winds of 70mph have been recorded in Avonmouth, in Bristol, the Met Office said.

The Environment Agency has issued two flood warnings – for Keswick and for part of the Somerset coast, with 15 further alerts for areas where flooding “is possible”.

Met Office chief forecaster Frank Saunders said: “The low pressure system that is bringing these strong winds will move fairly swiftly from west to east over the UK.

“Although there will still be some disruption through Wednesday morning, the winds will ease by the afternoon leaving a day of blustery showers.”

Storm Aileen is the first storm to be given a name since they were announced for the 2017/18 season.

Other names on the list include Dylan, Octavia, Rebecca and Simon.


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