Storm Imogen set to lash parts of UK

Storm Imogen set to lash south-west England and south Wales

  • 7 February 2016
  • From the section UK
Media captionStorm Imogen brings a turbulent start to the new week

Parts of Britain will be lashed by high winds and heavy rain on Monday as Storm Imogen moves in, forecasters say.

Southern England and south Wales are expected to face the brunt of gales.

Morning rush hour will be “especially impacted”, and the strongest winds could affect the M4 and M5 motorways later the Met Office said.

Some ferries between the UK and France have been cancelled, rail travel may be disrupted and drivers have been warned that conditions could be difficult.

The M48 Severn Bridge has been closed in both directions to high-sided vehicles because of high winds, although the M4 Second Severn Crossing remains open.

The Met Office has issued an amber “be prepared” wind warning for Wales, South West England, London and South East England and says coastal areas could see giant waves and localised flooding.

Gusts in south-west England may reach 80mph, with high winds sweeping across the Bristol Channel area to Cardiff and Bristol from the early hours.

Gusts of 66mph and 60mph have already been recorded in the Isles of Scilly and Camborne, west Cornwall.

There are 61 flood warnings in place in England and Wales – meaning flooding is expected – and more than 200 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible.

Rush-hour disruption

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “People should be prepared for disruption to travel on roads, rail, bridges and ferries and we could see possible damage to structures and downed trees risk affecting power.

“The wind will be combined with some hefty showers with some thunder along the south coast.”

Travel warnings so far include:

  • Ferry services cancelled include all sailings between the UK and the Channel Islands and St Malo, and those between Poole and Cherbourg
  • South West Trains says its services are travelling at lower speeds as a safety precaution across its coastal routes, adding up to 30 minutes to some journeys. Routes affected include those between Southampton and Weymouth, Portsmouth and London via Haslemere and Guildford, and Salisbury and Exeter St Davids
  • Its early trains on Monday may not operate and there may also be “changes to the number of carriages” on some services
  • Southern says speed restrictions are in place on some routes until 03:00 GMT on Monday and then from 11:00 GMT, and trains running south of Three Bridges “may be subject to delay”. It advised that “disruption is highly likely” on Monday
  • Great Western Railway says its trains are running at reduced speed, and services across the network “may be delayed or revised” until 17:45 GMT on Monday


Check if this is affecting your journey

BBC Weather

Environment Agency flood warnings for England and Wales

Flood warnings for Scotland

Image copyright Alistair Vickery
Image caption Storm Gertrude blew over vehicles last month and forecasters say Imogen could do the same

Gary Webb, of Highways England, said: “We would encourage drivers, especially those driving high-sided vehicles, motorcycles or considering a trip with a caravan, to consider driving conditions before setting off as they could be difficult.

“If you do have to make a journey by road be prepared, plan your journey in advance and check the latest weather conditions along your route.

“Be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, and motorbikes plenty of space. In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signed diversion routes.”

This could affect the Severn crossings and structures as far east as the QEII Bridge at Dartford, Highways England said.

Forecasters said winds would gradually ease through the afternoon and evening.

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