More high winds forecast as Storm Gertrude continues to batter Yorkshire
The north of England is braced for further weather-related trouble amid warnings that a wintry mix of high winds, snow and ice could create difficult driving conditions and disrupt power supplies.
The weather is set to remain unsettled over the next few days, after Storm Gertrude battered the country on Friday with gusts of up to 144mph.
Snow has fallen in parts of Scotland and police warned of hazardous driving conditions for some areas, with routes affected by the overnight snow fall.
The weather is set to remain unsettled throughout Saturday, with Met Office amber “be prepared” warnings for snow, ice and high winds in place until the evening.
The alerts mostly cover areas north of the central belt while yellow “be aware” warnings were issued for the rest of Scotland.
On the amber warning, the Met Office said: “An active cold front has introduced much colder air across Scotland.
“This airmass is very unstable and producing frequent snow and hail showers, with thunder possible at times.
“Given the showery nature of the snow, some locations may see relatively little, but some locally large accumulations are likely over a short period of time - this more likely across the north and west of the amber area.”
The public were also urged to be aware of difficult driving conditions and disruption to travel.
Police Scotland said routes in Tayside have been affected by snow, with a number of collisions reported during the morning, particularly on the A90.
In Northern Ireland, Orkney and Shetland, and the north of England, the snow and wind warnings are also at the lesser yellow stage.
The north of England, the Midlands and Wales have also been warned to expect ice on untreated roads and pavements, while the south of England can expect further spells of heavy rain. The continuing misery comes a day after winds of more than 100mph from Storm Gertrude disrupted transport, brought down power lines and damaged buildings.
Gale force winds brought parts of Yorkshire to a standstill on Friday as Storm Gertrude caused chaos in the north.
Two major transport arteries through North Yorkshire were closed following serious accidents on the A1 northbound near to Boroughbridge, where a motorcycle and a lorry collided, and on the A64 at Scarborough, where two windswept lorries crashed.
High-sided vehicles were also barred from crossing the Humber Bridge, P&O’s Pride of Hull ferry from Rotterdam was forced to abandon an attempt to berth at the port in Hull this morning and planes were seen struggling to land at Leeds-Bradford Airport, the UK’s highest airport.
Wind gusts of up to 80mph and heavy rain swept across the north of England, while tens of thousands of homes in Scotland and Northern Ireland were left without power.
River levels on the Ouse in North Yorkshire are expected to be particularly high over the weekend just days after York’s Foss Barrier was used for the first time since the Boxing Day floods in the city.
Neil Davies, national flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: “More wet weather this weekend means that communities in parts of southern England and the north should stay alert to the potential for further flooding.
“Strong winds combined with high tides could lead to large waves and spray especially for the Yorkshire coast and parts of southern and western coasts.
“We advise anyone near coastal paths and promenades to take extra care and to avoid the temptation to go ‘wave watching’.”
The weekend weather outlook is already having an impact on planned events in Yorkshire.
Leeds Markets tweeted: “Due to predicted high wind & gusts speeds for Otley this weekend, we have taken the decision to cancel Otley market this Friday and Saturday.”
Winds reached 144mph in Scotland’s Cairngorm mountains and nacreous clouds, which the Met Office said are usually seen in polar regions, were spotted in the north east of Scotland during the storm. A rare Met Office red alert was also enforced in Orkney.
Amid the chaos north of the border, one man suffered head injuries after being hit with flying debris in the Pinkhill area of Edinburgh but remains stable in hospital tonight.
Around 10,000 Scottish and Northern Irish homes and businesses lost power during the storm, several schools were closed and numerous properties were damaged. Flats in Clydebank were evacuated when scaffolding was blown through a roof.
Several were hurt on the A96 in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, when a lorry was blown over on to a car although the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said no one sustained life-threatening injuries.
Prime Minister David Cameron was in Scotland and was caught up in the disruption on his way to Belgium for EU talks today.
Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, he said: “My first challenge is to get to Brussels as with hurricane (sic) Gertrude I’ve already had a flight problem so I’m racing across Scotland at the moment to get to Edinburgh Airport but I hope I will make it.”
Meanwhile, train passengers and drivers should expect disrupted travel throughout the weekend due to severe weather across the country.
South West Trains, ScotRail and Northern Rail have all warned that their services may be affected by Storm Gertrude.
On the roads, the AA has reported traffic problems due to flooding in Wales and Cumbria and warnings of strong winds across Scotland where the Forth Road Bridge has been closed to high-sided vehicles.
In the Peak District a road through the National Park, the B6521, has been closed due to a landslide.
Trains between Carlisle and Leeds suffered delays of up to half an hour on Friday evening and the services between Inverness and Perth were cancelled.
Similar delays are expected throughout the weekend as the bad weather continues.
A South West Trains severe weather warning said: “We could see gusts of wind up to 40- 50mph and 50 mph in coastal regions combined with heavy rain.
“These conditions can present risks to the railway that vary from localised flooding, falling trees and debris blown onto the line.”
Maintenance teams from the train line will be heading to high-risk sites to ensure falling trees and flooding disrupt trains as little as possible and have already visited Brockenhurst and Bournemouth.
All passengers are advised to check their route before they travel.