Storm Aileen: Winds bring travel disruption


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Media captionStorm Aileen will move out eastwards into the North Sea on Wednesday

Commuters have faced rush hour disruption after Storm Aileen brought strong winds to parts of the UK.

Aileen, the first named storm this season, affected rail services and left thousands without power overnight.

The Met Office said gusts of 74mph hit Mumbles Head in south Wales, with southern parts of northern England and the north Midlands also badly affected.

Highways England warned drivers of lorries, caravans and motorbikes of an increased risk of being blown over.

It also advised people to take extra care and to consider delaying their journey if the weather becomes more severe.

Rail commuters are facing slower journeys and cancellations.

On its website, National Rail said falling trees and large branches, power cuts and debris blown onto the tracks were causing problems.

Affected services include Greater Anglia, London Midland, Southern and Thameslink. Other services were affected earlier, during the morning rush hour.

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Drivers in Grays, Essex, had to rethink their route

At its height, the storm cut power to 60,000 homes in Wales – some for 10 minutes, others for several hours.

Western Power Distribution, which provides electricity to homes in south and west Wales, said all affected areas, from Pembrokeshire to Monmouthshire, were back up and running.

In Nottinghamshire, more than 800 homes experienced power cuts overnight, and in Lincolnshire, 700 homes lost power.

Electricity North West said its engineers have restored power to 1,000 homes which were cut off overnight, but about 250 homes in Buxton, Macclesfield and Leigh were still without power.

Police forces in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have all reported trees being blown over by the winds during the night.

The Met Office said there was no connection between high winds in the UK and the recent extreme weather in the Caribbean and the US.

The UK’s weather system is coming from the north, in the Atlantic, the Met Office added.

The warning for strong winds is in place until 10:00 BST, with heavy rain likely to fall until midday, although the worst of the storm is now over the North Sea.

The Environment Agency has issued one flood warning for Keswick, with 13 further alerts for areas where flooding “is possible”.

By contrast, on this day last year, the temperature in Gravesend, Kent, reached 34C (93F).

Storm Aileen is the first storm to be given a name since they were announced for the 2017/18 season.

Other names on the list include Dylan, Octavia, Rebecca and Simon.


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