UK

Storm Gertrude: Gales cause chaos across parts of UK

Waves breaking on the sea front in Ardrossan, Ayrshire Image copyright PA
Image caption Waves breaking on the sea front in Ardrossan, Ayrshire

Storm Gertrude is sweeping across parts of the UK with winds of more than 100mph causing damage to buildings, travel disruption and power cuts.

In Edinburgh, a man was hospitalised after being struck by flying debris, and gusts of wind reaching 105mph were recorded at Lerwick, Shetland.

At least 1,800 homes are without power in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Trains, flights and ferries have been cancelled and roads and bridges shut.

There are flood warnings across the UK.

In Scotland, which has been worst hit by the storm, a number of schools were closed, and almost 40 flood warnings - suggesting "flooding is expected" and "immediate action required" - are in place.

In Northern Ireland, high winds brought down power lines and trees - including the famous trees at Dark Hedges in Armoy, County Antrim, which feature in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

In Wales, the M48 Severn Bridge was temporarily closed after a lorry overturned, and Storm Gertrude continues to bring winds of up to 80mph and rain. There are seven flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, in place.

In England, eight flood warnings are in place, with particularly high water levels expected at the River Ouse in North Yorkshire and the Severn at Shrewsbury. There are also more than 50 flood alerts in place.

Image copyright Met Office
Image caption A satellite image released by the Met Office showing Storm Gertrude passing north of Shetland

In other developments:

  • At least 600 homes and businesses in Northern Ireland, and 1,200 in Scotland are without power
  • There is ongoing disruption on Scotrail services, with one in 10 services cancelled on Friday
  • The Erskine Bridge is closed to high-sided vehicles. The Tay Road Bridge and Forth Road Bridge were closed to all traffic, but have reopened. The M48 Severn Bridge was reopened after the removal of a lorry which overturned on Friday morning
  • A number of people were injured on the A96 in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, when a lorry was blown over on to a car
  • Flats were evacuated in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, when scaffolding was blown through a roof
  • Winds of 144mph have been recorded at Cairn Gorm summit
  • A P&O ferry from Rotterdam was unable to berth in the morning owing to "extreme weather conditions"
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Media captionIn Armoy, County Antrim, trees at the Dark Hedges, made famous by the HBO series Game of Thrones, have collapsed onto the Bregagh Road
Image copyright PA
Image caption Several lorries have overturned in high winds, including this one on the M9
Image copyright Fred O'Hara
Image caption Scaffolding collapsed in Lenzie in East Dunbartonshire

A band of rain is expected to move in from the north west on Friday evening and quickly turn to snow across central Scotland. Frequent snow showers are then expected overnight and well into Saturday.

Frequent and heavy wintry showers are also expected across northern parts of England during Saturday.

Coastal warning

The Met Office has issued amber "be prepared" wind and snow warnings for large parts of Scotland, and yellow "be aware" wind and snow warnings for northern England. There are yellow warnings of rain for southern England, along with the West Midlands and Wales.

Neil Davies, national flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said communities in southern and northern England should be alert for possible flooding.

Mr Davies said: "Teams from the Environment Agency will be out over the weekend continuing their work to check and repair flood defences as well as clearing watercourses and offering help and advice to communities still recovering from the impacts of flooding over Christmas."

He also warned of high tides and large waves in coastal areas, and advised people to take extra care and to avoid the temptation to go "wave watching".

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Media captionA driver had a lucky escape when a tree fell on his car in Maghera, County Londonderry,
Image copyright Alistair Vickery
Image caption A lorry overturned on the M48 Severn Bridge on Friday morning

Some buildings have been severely damaged by the high winds. Police Scotland responded to reports of storm damage in Glasgow's Renfield Street, West Regent Street and the city's main thoroughfare - The Broomielaw - is closed owing to an unsafe building.

West coast ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne also warned of disruption to its services. All 26 routes have been affected either by cancellations or delays.

A rare Met Office red warning of wind, meaning "danger to life", was in place for Shetland earlier on Friday but has now been lifted.

Meanwhile, in Omagh, County Tyrone, firefighters were called to an unusual rescue to save a pet rabbit called Bumper who was blown onto the roof of a house by Storm Gertrude.

Image copyright NIFRS West
Image caption Firefighters said they used a carrot to get Bumper down from the roof

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