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07 February 2020 22:41

Storm Ciara Storm Ciara

Merseyrail issues travel warnings ahead of Storm Ciara

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.

The Duke, who is expected to step back from senior Royal duties, spoke with Ruby League ambassadors and children from St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School in London EPA 24/50 15 January 2020 Vehicles negotiate the flooded B4069 road at Christian Malford in Wiltshire after the river Avon burst its banks PA 25/50 14 January 2020 Huge waves hit the sea wall in Porthcawl, Wales, as gales of up to 80mph from Storm Brendan caused disruption around the UK PA 26/50 13 January 2020 Puppeteers from Vision Mechanic rehearsing with Scotland's largest puppet, a ten-metre tall sea goddess called Storm, in the grounds of the Museum of Flight, East Lothian. 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 LNER, which runs most services on the East Coast main line from London to Yorkshire, Newcastle and Scotland, said: "We are advising you not to travel on Sunday 9 February. "Customers with Grand Central tickets dated Sunday 9 February can use those tickets on either Saturday 8 February or Monday 10 February on any Grand Central service," said the train operator. On the West Coast main line from London Euston to the West Midlands, northwest England and Scotland, Avanti is warning: "Where speed restrictions are imposed, journey times will be doubled and customers should travel only if necessary. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind covering the whole country on Saturday and Sunday.

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.

Officials from Natural Resources Wales said people living near the Welsh coast should be prepared for possible flooding and urged them check the latest alerts and warnings over the weekend. Ferry services between Wales and Ireland may be subject to "severe disruption" between Saturday and Monday Train services across Wales face severe disruption on Sunday, with Network Rail warning passengers: "Only travel by train this Sunday if absolutely necessary". "We're expecting very stormy conditions, high tides and winds that have the potential to uproot trees and damage infrastructure," said Chris Pearce, head of operations at Network Rail Wales and Borders. Rail operators have also warned there will be no replacement bus services, and urged all passengers to check before travelling. Storm Ciara has come with a further warning for rain between 15:00 GMT on Saturday until midnight on Sunday.

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).