Tuesday, 21 March, 2023

Trains, flights, ferries cancelled as high winds batter UK


LONDON, Feb. 9 (AP) — Trains, flights and ferries have been cancelled and weather warnings issued across the United Kingdom and elsewhere in northern Europe on Sunday as a storm with hurricane-level winds battered the region.

Storm Ciara, named by the Met Office national weather agency, was expected to bring winds up to 90 mph (145 kph) as well as heavy rains. The agency has issued 123 emergency flood warnings and 159 flood watch alerts. Gusts of 86 mph (138 kph) were already recorded at Capel Curig in Wales.

At least 10 rail companies in Britain sent out “do not travel” warnings, and nearly 20 others told passengers to expect delays. The strong winds damaged electrical wires and littered train tracks with broken tree limbs and other debris, including a family trampoline.

London’s Heathrow Airport and several airlines consolidated flights Sunday to reduce the number cancelled by heavy winds. British Airways offered to rebook customers for domestic and European flights out of Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports. Virgin Airlines canceled some flights.

The Humber Bridge near Hull in northern England restricted traffic due to the high winds, banning high-sided trucks and camper vehicles. High waves in the Irish Sea and the English Channel forced ferry companies to cancel trips, and the key English port of Dover suspended services.

Cultural and sports events across the region were canceled, including a 10-k run in London expected to draw 25,000 runners and the opening ceremony of Galway’s year of Culture reign.

Breaking with her usual Sunday routine, Queen Elizabeth II did not attend church in Sandringham due to high winds.

A cow was spotted on the A29 highway after high winds blew down fences.

In Ireland, power was knocked to an estimated 10,000 homes, farms and businesses. National weather agency Met Eireann warned that a combination of spring high tides, high seas and stormy conditions had created a significant risk of coastal flooding, particularly along the west and northwest.

Across the Channel, Germany’s national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, said it was canceling long-distance trains to destinations most at risk from the storm, including Emden and Norddeich in Germany’s northwestern corner, the northern city of Kiel and the North Sea island of Sylt.

A German soccer league match between title challenger Borussia Moenchengladbach and Cologne, set for Sunday afternoon, was called off because of concerns that fans could have trouble getting home. The storm is known as “Sabine” in Germany.