Thousands lose power as gales hit UK

Cars in snowImage copyrightPA
Image caption Drivers across parts of the country are facing another day of travel disruption

Severe gales have been causing disruption to much of the UK – with gusts of up to 70 mph (113 kph).

Police in several areas, including Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Gloucestershire, have reported fallen trees on or near roads.

Damage to overhead electric wires is causing problems for train services in the Midlands, and drivers are being warned to take extra care on the roads.

Thousands lose power as gales hit UK
Thousands lose power as gales hit UK

In Essex, 13,000 homes are without power, UK Power Distribution said.

In Scotland, police are urging motorists to drive with “extreme caution” in the wintry conditions.

Until 05:00 BST, drivers in Scotland and northern England were being warned not to travel at all, the first such warning issued since high winds in January 2013.

Police Scotland has since downgraded that warning. Supt Calum Glenny said the weather had not been as severe as was first forecast and thanked the “significant number” of drivers who heeded the warning to stay off the roads.

Yellow warnings for snow and ice are in place for parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England.

Train hits tree

Rail commuters are facing delays in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. In Sydenham, south east London, a train has hit a tree.

National Rail said high winds had damaged overhead power lines between Stowmarket and Norwich, blocking the line between Norwich and London Liverpool Street.

Fallen trees have also affected services between Southampton and Fareham, Aylesbury and Harrow-on-the Hill and Aldershot and Alton.

Skip Twitter post by @metoffice

Very strong winds across England and Wales this morning. Be aware of longer journey times for the rush hour, especially in eastern parts where gusts over 70 mph are still possible. Here are the highest gusts recorded at 6am

— Met Office (@metoffice) January 18, 2018

End of Twitter post by @metoffice

In Suffolk, the Orwell Bridge on the A14 has been shut due to high winds.

A number of vehicles – including jacknifed lorries – got stuck on the A75 Euroroute in the Dumfries and Gatehouse of Fleet area on Wednesday night but it was fully reopened by morning.

Image copyrightDGVost
Image caption The A75 became blocked by jacknifed lorries at a number of points including Gatehouse of Fleet

Scottish Borders Council said no schools would open on Thursday, affecting 15,000 pupils.

About 200 schools across Scotland closed on Wednesday.

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