Storm Gerrit blows into Wales with gusts of 80mph recorded
Storm Gerrit has blown into Wales as weather warnings have been issued for the next 24 hours.
Disruption caused by the storm has brought misery for travellers on their way home from the Christmas holidays across the country.
Wind gusts of 80mph and heavy rain caused delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport.
The fastest recorded wind gust so far in Wales was 83mph at Capel Curig, north Wales.
Elsewhere, the M48 Severn Bridge in Gloucestershire is closed in both directions due to strong winds, National Highways said.
Drivers on the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge, advised as an alternative route, are facing 90-minute delays after a crash.
Yellow warnings for wind have been issued for Wales with 50-60mph gusts expected, with 70-75mph possible near exposed coasts and over high ground.
The RNLI urged those visiting the coast to exercise extreme caution, particularly along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.
Gareth Morrison, RNLI water safety partner, said: “The RNLI advises staying a safe distance away from the water and cliff edges as the conditions could knock you off your feet or wash you into the sea. It is not worth risking your life.”
Storm Gerrit comes less than a week since Storm Pia lashed parts of the UK in the countdown to the festive season.
Elsewhere in the UK, train operator LNER, which runs services between London and Scotland on the East Coast Main Line, has advised customers not to travel due to the weather.
Customers stranded by the disruption were told to book hotels which they can claim back.
Avanti West Coast, which operates services on the West Coast Main Line, said its route to Scotland is impassable, with all services to and from London terminating at Preston.
Those with pre-booked tickets for travel between Preston and either Edinburgh or Glasgow can board trains on Thursday or Friday, the operator said.
A major incident has been declared on the A9 in the Scottish Highlands, Police Scotland said, after drivers reported being stuck for hours in heavy traffic on the snow-covered road.
The heavy snow led to cars becoming stuck near Drumochter before snowploughs were able to start clearing a way through.
The A9 further south at Ballinluig in Perthshire has also been closed by police due to flooding, while 27,000 properties across Scotland suffered power cuts, according to Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).
SSEN said that as of 4.30pm on Wednesday supplies had been restored to about 8,500 properties, with more than 18,500 still cut off.
The firm warned some could face 48 hours without power.
A rainfall gauge at the Great Langdale Valley in the Lake District has seen the highest accumulation in the country so far, with 80mm – nearly half the usual 178mm monthly rainfall for December, the Met Office said.
About 2-3cm of snow has fallen in Aviemore in the Cairngorms.
Eighteen British Airways flights have been cancelled due to air traffic control restrictions.
The BA return domestic trips to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Jersey and Manchester, and to Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid and Paris Charles de Gaulle in mainland Europe, were axed.
Ferry operator Red Funnel, which provides services between Southampton and Cowes on the Isle of Wight, cancelled its Red Jet passenger services due to strong winds.
Hovercraft services between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight were also suspended.
Network Rail Scotland imposed speed restrictions on Wednesday because of the weather.
Flooding between Lockerbie and Carlisle means all rail lines are blocked between those stations.
A tree fell on the line and caught fire near Dumbarton East Station in West Dunbartonshire, Network Rail Scotland said, closing the line in both directions.
Lines have now reopened between York and Malton in North Yorkshire, where a tree was blocking the tracks.
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