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Snow and ice set to hit UK after Storm Ciara wreaks havoc

Parts of the UK could see blizzards and up to 20cm of snow after the weekend chaos of Storm Ciara.

More than 20,000 homes are without power after Sunday brought flooding, evacuations and travel disruption as winds reached 97mph and some areas saw a month and a half’s rainfall in just 24 hours.

UK Power Networks said more than 18,500 households across the east and southeast of England are still without electricity, while Western Power Distribution reported more than 2,800 households remain without power.

The Environment Agency has issued 140 flood warnings across England, meaning immediate action is required. Another 251 flood alerts are also in place.

Plane aborts landing at last second

Monday brings the threat of further disruption, with a number of yellow weather warnings from the Met Office.

  • A warning for strong winds in southern England between 10am and 7pm
  • A warning for snow and ice in the north of England between 3pm and midnight
  • A warning for wind and snow across Scotland all day

Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang said: “Storm Ciara has now cleared but has left unsettled weather with further strong winds and heavy showers, and these will turn increasingly wintry over the next 24 to 48 hours.

“Today will see a more concentrated area of showers spread eastwards across southern Britain, perhaps with some hill snow. It will be very windy there with gusts in excess of 70mph for exposed coastal spots.

“Elsewhere, there will be brief sunny spells and plenty of heavy showers with a mix of rain, hail, sleet and snow. Snow is likely to accumulate over high ground in the north with blizzard conditions expected over higher routes. It will feel colder especially in the strong west winds.

Large waves caused by Storm Ciara hit the the seafront and wall in Newhaven, Britain February 9, 2020
Large waves hit the the seafront and wall in Newhaven
A fallen tree on a car in a street in Wigan. Pic: Victoria Gregson
A fallen tree on a car in a street in Wigan. Pic: Victoria Gregson

“Tonight the showers will turn increasingly wintry with heavy snow especially over northern hills, with these snow showers extending further south into northern England later. There is also the risk of icy patches.

“Tomorrow will remain windy with wintry showers of hail, sleet and snow. More than 20cm of snow is likely over the Scottish mountains. The best chance of drier, brighter weather will be in southeast England where the winds should ease a bit later.”

Rail users are being advised to check with operators before travelling, with several warning of delays and cancellations through Monday’s rush hour due to flooding and as Network Rail engineers work to clear the tracks and repair damaged power lines.

Flights are also affected, with airports across the country urging travellers to check with their airlines for the latest information on their flights due to the ongoing adverse weather conditions.

British Airways warned of a “minor knock-on effect” from Sunday and saying there are options for people booked to travel on Monday which include making changes to their travel plans.

“We’re getting in touch with those affected, and have brought in extra customer teams to help them with a range of options including a full refund or an alternative flight between now and Thursday,” the airline said.

“Any customer flying short-haul to or from Heathrow or Gatwick, can also choose to make changes to their travel plans if they would prefer to fly another time.”

Gatwick Airport has warned “some flights today will be subject to delays and cancellations”.

Motorists have also been warned of difficult conditions on the roads in the aftermath of Storm Ciara due to fallen trees, downed power cables, flooding and also with snow and ice forecast.

Part of a wall belonging to Sonias Bistro, on the banks of the River Teviot in the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders, has been blown off and washed away by Storm Ciara. Pic: Michal Butlewski
Part of Sonia’s Bistro, on the banks of the River Teviot in the town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Pic: Michal Butlewski
Storm Ciara
A man was trapped for more than an hour in Flitwick, Bedfordshire. Pics: Beds, Cambs Herts Roads Policing Unit

Sunday saw more than 200 flood warnings issued across England, with the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland, in Cumbria, severely hit.

The River Irwell burst its banks at Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, while areas including Blackpool, Whalley, Longton and Rossendale, were affected by flooding in Lancashire.

Chris Wilding, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, warned of further flooding and advised people against venturing outdoors to take “storm selfies”.

He said: “Some significant river flooding is possible across parts of the north of England today due to heavy, persistent rain and severe gale force winds associated with Storm Ciara.

“Minor coastal flooding impacts are also possible for parts of the south, west and northeastern England coast, where high tides, large waves and coastal gales combine.

“We advise people to check their flood risk, stay safe and avoid activities such as storm selfies.”

Icy weather

Latest UK weather forecast

The fastest gusts of 97mph were recorded at Needles Battery on the Isle of Wight on Sunday, with 93mph winds hitting Aberdaron, a village at the tip of the Llyn Peninsula in Wales.

Inland, Manchester Airport recorded gusts of 86mph.

Video posted on Twitter by Big Jet TV showed a British Airways plane aborting a landing at Heathrow as it battled against the high winds.

But there was good news too – a British Airways plane, propelled by the fierce winds, was thought to have made the fastest New York-to-London flight by a conventional airliner.

The Boeing 747-436 completed the 3,500-mile transatlantic journey in 4 hours and 56 minutes, landing 102 minutes early and reaching a top speed of 825 mph (1,327 kph), according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.

Flooded homes in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire
Flooded homes in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire

The Welsh village of Capel Curig saw 122.6mm of rain, while 178mm of rain fell in Honister Pass, in Cumbria, in the 24 hours to 4pm on Sunday.

Power was cut to 539,000 properties on Sunday and there were delays and cancellations on flights, ferries and trains as drivers contended with flooding and fallen trees.

All shipping movements were suspended at the Port of Dover, and the Humber Bridge in northern England was closed to all traffic for only the second time since opening in 1981.

In Hawick in the Scottish Borders a guest house and bistro collapsed into the River Teviot. No one was injured.

A flooded street is seen after Storm Ciara downpour in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, Britain February 9, 2020. Pic: THE AFGHAN RUG SHOP
A flooded street in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Pic: The Afghan Rug Shop

Footage posted on social media showed a wall of the Bridge House Guest House and Sonia’s Bistro building come down.

London’s eight royal parks were closed, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace was cancelled, and even the Queen broke with routine and did not attend church in Sandringham.

Sporting events affected included Manchester City’s English Premier League match against West Ham and Scotland’s Women’s Six Nations rugby match against England.

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