Storm Isha Sweeps Britain With Powerful Winds, Disrupting Travel


Britain was under strong wind warnings, including a tornado watch, as a winter storm swept over the country on Sunday, bringing potential “danger to life” in some areas along sea fronts and roads or properties near the coasts, the authorities said.

The Meteorological Office, Britain’s weather service, issued a rarely used warning concerning the storm, Isha.

Wind gusts between 73 miles per hour and 90 m.p.h. were recorded on Sunday evening and were forecast for Monday across the United Kingdom, including in Capel Curig in Wales and Killowen in Northern Ireland, the weather office said.

“It is rather unusual in bringing impacts to most of the U.K.,” Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the weather service, also known as the Met Office, said.

Several parts of Britain had recorded winds in excess of 60 m.p.h. on Sunday and the strong winds were expected to continue overnight, he said.

“In part, this system has been invigorated by the cold plunge in the east of North America,” said Mr. Madge, adding that the weather pattern “has created a very strong jet, which is helping and propel areas of low pressure, such as Storm Isha, across the North Atlantic.”

Strong winds were also expected on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, and could lead to travel disruptions.

Late on Sunday night, the Met Office issued a red wind warning for overnight covering the northeast coast of Scotland and advised people not to use the roadways. A red warning advises the public to expect “a short spell of extremely strong winds leading to danger to life, structural damage and disruption.”

The National Air Traffic Services said on Sunday that “due to adverse weather conditions across the U.K., temporary air traffic restrictions are in place.”

Dublin Airport in Ireland said that 114 flights had been canceled and 36 flights were diverted to other airports because of the weather on Sunday.

Shannon Airport in County Clare, Ireland, remained open on Sunday evening but warned that the weather could disrupt flights. Manchester Airport in Manchester, England, also advised passengers to check with their airlines for any changes resulting from the high winds.

“Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs, could happen,” the weather office said on Sunday, adding that power failures and cellphone interruptions could result from the conditions.

“Injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties,” the Met Office said.

The yellow weather warning issued for Isha is used when people are at risk from certain weather because of their location or activity, and it advises the public “to take preventative action,” according to the meteorological office’s website.

Met Éireann, Ireland’s meteorological service, also issued amber wind warnings for Sunday and Monday, with a status red storm warning covering coastal areas in the north of the country.

The service said that the storm was bringing “very strong” and “gusty southwesterly winds countrywide with strong gales” as well as high waves along coasts.

The service also said that “a status red severe weather warning is rarely issued but when it is, people in the areas expected to be affected should take action to protect themselves and/or their properties.”

The Tornado and Storm Research Organization, which tracks severe weather, issued a tornado watch in Ireland and parts of northern Britain as the storm trekked across the region on Sunday.

The stormy weather could also cause some roads and bridges to close and affect road, train, air and ferry services, the authorities said.

Because of the weather conditions, Network Rail Scotland suspended service on Sunday and lines were to remain closed on Monday.

“Our weather specialists confirm the forecast has worsened, with a high likelihood of damage to Scotland’s Railway,” the service said on Sunday. “This decision has been made to keep passengers and our people safe.”

Southeastern, a rail service that connects London to East Sussex, said several of its lines were disrupted, prompting some stops to be skipped.

Nearly 7,000 homes were without power on late Sunday night in Britain and Wales, according to the National Grid. In Ireland, more than 170,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power on Sunday evening as the storm moved across the country, according to electric provider ESB Networks. In Northern Ireland, roughly 45,000 customers were without power.

The Met Office urged residents to check for loose items outside their homes, such as bins, planted pots and garden furniture, and to bring them inside or secure them in place.

While tornadoes are not unusual in Britain — about 30 are reported each year — they often land in sparsely populated areas or are short-lived and cause little to no damage.

Britain has had exceptional winter weather this season. Torrential rains that swept across parts of England this month prompted a wave of weather alerts and travel disruptions, according to forecasters and officials. Hundreds of flood alerts were also issued for various communities and rivers.

Orlando Mayorquin contributed reporting.




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