07 February 2020 22:41
The Met Office has issued an amber 'danger to life' warning as heavy rain and gusts of up to 80mph are expected to batter the UK. Storm Ciara is expected to cause damage to buildings as well as disrupt transport with cancellations to air, ferry and train services expected. A mixture of wind, rain and snow warnings issued by the Met Office are in effect for swathes of the country from Saturday at 12pm to Tuesday at 12pm. Some roads and bridges are likely to close, and rail, air and ferry services could be delayed or cancelled. Network Rail warned that reduced train services and speed restrictions are likely to be in place across large parts of Britain on Sunday.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Frank Saunders, said: "Storm Ciara will bring damaging winds and heavy rain across the UK this weekend and we have issued a range of severe weather warnings giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm. Rail, air and sea passengers have been warned to expect severe disruption on Sunday as Storm Ciara sweeps in from the Atlantic, bringing winds of up to 80mph. Network Rail will impose a blanket speed restriction of 50mph on many lines on Sunday because of fears of debris being blown on to the line by the high winds. "To keep passengers safe, reduced services and speed restrictions are likely to be in place across large parts of the rail network on Sunday. Since the fox hunting ban in 2004, modified hunts take place using scented trails for the animals to follow EPA 45/50 25 December 2019 Swimmers of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the Peter Pan Cup race, which is held every Christmas Day at the Serpentine, in central London PA 46/50 24 December 2019 Shoppers bid for cuts of meat during a Christmas Eve auction in Smithfield market in London EPA 47/50 23 December 2019 Reggie the dog is rescued with a boat from flooding at the Little Venice Country Park and Marina in Maidstone AFP via Getty 48/50 22 December 2019 People gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to mark the winter solstice, and to witness the sunrise after the longest night of the year PA 49/50 21 December 2019 Southampton's Jack Stephens scores their second goal against Aston Villa Reuters 50/50 20 December 2019 The coffin arrives for the funeral of London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt at Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge PA 1/50 7 February 2020 Activists surround a wooden trojan horse in the courtyard of the British Museum in London.
In a statement this afternoon, Merseyrail said: "due to the expected poor weather conditions forecast which will include high winds, Network Rail may implement speed restrictions across the network. Looking ahead to the weekend Met Office meteorologist Grahame Madge described the weather front as "Ciara rather rudely barging her way through", taking conditions from "rather benign" to "very unsettled" adding: "There's the potential for 80mph gusts in exposed locations across parts of the UK." And he warned of the risks of "coastal flooding, large winds across sea fronts" as well as possible bridge and road closures". Image copyright Network Rail Image caption Damage to tracks and trains means many services will shutdown on Sunday Train services face being severely disrupted over the weekend as rain and gales hit Wales. The Met Office has extended its yellow warning for wind on Saturday to cover most counties in north Wales and parts of Ceredigion and Powys. Ferry operators have already warned of expected disruption, meaning Wales fans heading back from the Dublin for the weekend's Six Nations clash could face problems getting home.
The Met Office expects 20 to 40mm of rain to fall across Northern Ireland, with up to 80mm over some areas of higher ground within 18 hours. Gusts of wind of up to 120km/h (75mph) are expected, with the warning affecting Donegal and Mayo between midday and 4:00 local time on Saturday, and Galway between 13:00 and 18:00. A further Met Office warning has been issued for wind and snow in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday, with snow mainly gathering above 150m (492ft).