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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 3 April, 2020
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Britain sees spinning cranes and collapsed stadium walls as Storm Ciara hits

Here in Ireland, a snow and ice warning kicks in at midnight.

Flooded streets in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, as Storm Ciara hits the UK.
Flooded streets in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, as Storm Ciara hits the UK.
Image: PA

THE GALE-FORCE winds of Storm Ciara have hit the UK with full force.

Three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed in Perth yesterday evening and emergency services were called today after a tree fell onto a car in Bedfordshire.

Dozens of domestic and international flights have been cancelled, while rail companies in England, Scotland and Wales urged passengers not to travel, saying they will operate reduced timetables and speed restrictions on today.

Drivers were warned they face treacherous conditions with reports of fallen trees and other debris blocking roads, while firefighters in Blackpool had to rescue a motorist whose car got stuck in deep floodwater.

Storm Ciara also disrupted today’s sporting programme, as horse racing, rugby union, rugby league and football fixtures, including the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham in Manchester, were all postponed.

A trampoline blown onto train tracks in Chelsfield, south London, disrupted rail services from the South East into the capital.

‘Quite exceptional’

Met Office meteorologist Helen Roberts said “quite exceptional” gusts of between 60 and 70mph would be seen in inland areas, with the worst of the weather likely to hit before 6pm, although warnings are in place until 9pm.

“As well as the strength of the wind there is the rain to come today,” she said.

“So far, we have seen some impact from the rain, which has been heavy and persistent across Northern Ireland and northern England in the last 24 hours. It is likely we will see further impact from the wind such as falling debris, roof tiles coming off, branches and trees down, with disruption to travel as well.”

Heathrow Airport said it had agreed with its airline partners to “consolidate” today’s flight schedule in a bid to minimise the number of cancelled flights.

British Airways said in a statement: “Like all airlines operating into and out of the UK tomorrow, we are expecting to be impacted by the adverse weather conditions across parts of the UK on Sunday.”

The airline said it was offering rebooking options for customers on domestic and European flights flying to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City on Sunday.

Virgin Atlantic posted a list of cancelled flights on its website. It said it was “contacting affected customers and rearranging their travel arrangements”.

Ferries have also been disrupted, as P&O said all services at the Port of Dover were suspended due to strong winds and Mersey Ferries cancelled all services until further notice.

Officials warned of possible damage to buildings and the chance of power cuts as thousands of homes around the country were left without power.

The Environment Agency in Britain issued a severe flood warning, meaning there is a danger to life, for the River Nidd in North Yorkshire.

There are also more than 200 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected and immediate action is required, and more than 177 alerts indicating flooding is possible.

Spinning crane

At one southern seaside town, the winds have been causing a huge crane to spin around.

The crane at a building site in Worthing, West Sussex was seen rotating freely in the wind as 41mph gusts battered the south coast.

Sussex Police said they had received several reports about the whirling crane but confirmed there is no cause for concern as it is designed to move with the wind.

The force said on Twitter: “Sussex Police have had a number of reports about the crane on Brighton Road Worthing turning in the high winds.

“Sussex Police have been in contact with the developers and the crane’s safety mechanism is designed to let it move in the wind.”

Meanwhile, a crane was bent over by winds in London “like it’s made of spaghetti”, according to one witness.

Lindsey Wells took a picture of the crane by Stanmore tube station at just after 11am and said two fire engines were in attendance.

The 36-year-old local resident told PA: “(It) looks like it’s made of spaghetti. It’s lucky it wasn’t during the week, as it’s a very busy, big development.”

Gusts of up to 93mph have been experienced in some parts of Britain.

Tweet by @Met Office Source: Met Office/Twitter

Over in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, part of the stadium wall at Wisbech FC collapsed due to the force of the wind.

Meanwhile, a man was trapped in his car for over an hour after a tree fell on it in Bedfordshire.

He received “very minor injuries”, said the local police. 

Snow-ice warnings

The Met Office has an amber warning for wind in place for much of England and Wales from 8am until 9pm, while an amber warning for rain applies to parts of Scotland.

Yellow weather warnings cover the whole UK, with the heaviest rain expected over high ground.

Strong gusts will continue to hit Northern Ireland and most of Scotland after the storm has moved away tomorrow. Heavy snow is also predicted and a yellow warning will be in place throughout the whole day.

The UK Met Office also issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for North West England tomorrow and a yellow warning for wind in the south is in place between 10am and 5pm.

Here in Ireland, a status yellow wind warning has been in place nationwide from midday today, and will last until noon tomorrow.

A snow and ice warning will kick in at midnight, and will be in place for 48 hours. 

“Storm Ciara will continue to produce very strong west to southwest winds over Ireland with mean speeds of 50-65km/h and gusts generally of between 90 and 110km/h, higher in Atlantic coastal areas,” said Met Éireann.  

Thousands of homes were left without power after stormy conditions overnight. The ESB has been dealing with the outages.

AA Roadwatch is advising drivers to be extra cautious today due to the bad conditions on the roads. 

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