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‘Worst yet to come’ as Storm Jocelyn sees flights cancelled and trains suspended

Flights have been cancelled and trains suspended as Storm Jocelyn hits the UK – and forecasters say the worst weather is still to come.

The severe weather caused major travel disruption and the storm is expected to be at its worst in the early hours of Wednesday – with a possibility that Met Office warnings are extended through the rush hour, the Met Office said.

It comes after eight flights were cancelled at Dublin Airport and four at Glasgow Airport on Tuesday evening, train services in Scotland were suspended from 7pm and drivers were warned to postpone journeys.

A search is taking place at Porthcawl, south Wales, after a person was reported to be in the sea just before 6pm on Tuesday.

HM Coastguard said rescue teams from Porthcawl, Port Talbot, Llantwit Major and Llansteffan, together with an HM Coastguard helicopter from St Athan were joined in the search by the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboats from Mumbles and Barry Dock.

The M48 Severn Bridge and A66 in County Durham and Cumbria were closed due to high winds with the Humber Bridge, A19 Tees Flyover and the Woodhead Pass in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire closed to high-sided vehicles.

In Scotland, the A76 was closed in both directions between Skelmorlie and Largs due to water breaking over the sea wall.

The strongest winds of up to 80mph are expected between 3am and 7am on Wednesday, before the storm eases off throughout the day.

Jocelyn arrived shortly after Storm Isha left two people dead and one seriously injured.

Thousands of people are suffering power cuts, while flooding is affecting parts of York.

The Met Office has issued amber and yellow weather warnings for wind covering much of the UK, together with yellow warnings for rain covering parts of western and southern Scotland, and north-west England.

A yellow warning for ice has also been issued across northern and eastern parts of Scotland.

Gusts of 80mph could be experienced in exposed areas, with 40-50mm of rain possible over higher ground, the forecaster said.

Meanwhile, winds as high as 76mph have already been recorded in Aberdaron, Wales, on Tuesday evening and Honister Pass in Cumbria saw 77mm of rain – the equivalent to about half of the average amount the area has in January.

Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Willington said Storm Jocelyn, named by Met Eireann, could cause more disruption than Storm Isha.

He said: “Although this system will be a step down relative to Storm Isha, with the damage and clean-up still under way, we could potentially see more impacts from Storm Jocelyn.

“Wind gusts are expected to reach 55-65mph across north-western Scotland while there is potential for winds to reach 75-80mph in a few places, in particular exposed parts of the Western Isles and coastal north-west Scotland early on Wednesday morning.”

A tourists poses for a photograph on the Burren, near Black Head lighthouse, County Clare
A tourist poses for a photograph on the Burren, near Black Head lighthouse, County Clare (Niall Carson/PA)

Further transport disruption is expected after services had largely recovered on Monday.

Martin Thomson, national operations manager for resilience at Transport Scotland, said: “Across the wider network, we can expect to see more delays and cancellations with ferries, flights and rail from Tuesday into Wednesday morning.”

Liam Sumpter, route director for Network Rail Scotland, said Storm Isha caused “a huge amount of damage” and teams have been working “around the clock” to remove fallen tress and debris, and repair damaged infrastructure.

He went on: “While we are continuing to reopen routes when it is safe to do so, we unfortunately expect even more disruption in the coming days as Storm Jocelyn arrives in Scotland.

“If you’re planning on travelling by train this week, please check the status of your journey with your train operator.

“We’re also urging lineside neighbours to make sure that garden furniture and equipment is secure as in high winds, this can blow on to the railway, causing damage and disruption.”

Workers remove a tree that fell on an electricity substation on the Kinnaird estate in Larbert during Storm Isha on Sunday.
Workers remove a tree that fell on an electricity substation on the Kinnaird estate in Larbert during Storm Isha (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rail services to and from Scotland are expected to be suspended until at least noon on Wednesday.

Road journeys are also likely to be affected by the storm.

RAC spokesperson Alice Simpson said: “With so much heavy rainfall and debris on the roads, driving conditions will be very challenging, especially across northern parts of the country where the weather is at its worst.

“Visibility will be severely reduced due to the spray from lorries and other large vehicles, and the amount of water on the roads will increase stopping distances.

“We urge drivers to consider postponing their journeys in these areas if at all possible.

“We also suggest drivers avoid parking underneath or near to trees.”

Meanwhile, parts of York were affected by flooding.

River and surface water flooding is probable in parts of the north of England on Tuesday with river flooding possible into Wednesday, the Environment Agency said.

River flooding is also possible along parts of the upper River Severn in Shropshire until Friday.

The number of flood warnings – meaning flooding was expected – had reached 15 in England and 17 in Scotland.

The Met Office said the highest recorded windspeed during Storm Isha was 99mph at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland, with gusts of 90mph at Capel Curig in Snowdonia on Sunday.

A 26-year-old man was in a critical condition on Monday night after his car hit a tree on a road in Northumberland, police said.

An 84-year-old man died after the car in which he was a front seat passenger crashed into a fallen tree in Grangemouth, Falkirk, Police Scotland said.

And a man in his 60s was killed in a crash involving two vans and a fallen tree in Limavady, Co Londonderry, on Sunday night, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.