Clodagh causes transport disruption as rain and winds lash Britain


Wales and the north of England have been put on flood alert after gale-force winds strong enough to topple trees buffeted Britain today.

There will be little respite after today's gales hit speeds of more than 70mph, tearing roofs from buildings, sending huge waves crashing over quays and causing travel chaos as felled trunks blocked road and railway.

The Environment Agency has issued yellow flood warnings for Wales and the north of England for Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, two days of rain could leave parts of north Wales under 60mm of precipitation.

The north of England could see 30-40mm of rain during the same period, say the Met Office. A spokeswoman also warned that parts of Scotland, which is on a yellow snow warning, could have 2.5cm of snow on Monday.

This comes after a day of wind blasts that saw waves taller than houses lash the coasts of Cornwall and Wales as Storm Clodagh crossed the Irish Sea to lash Britain with heavy rain and strong winds.

A car was crushed by a falling tree in Oxton, Merseyside, and the roof of a parade of shops was blown off and onto cars below on Moorfield Avenue in Denton, Tameside this afternoon. Occupants living in flats above the shops had to be given temporary shelter for the night.

Coastguards had to pull a windsurfer out of the water at Seaburn Beach, Sunderland, after he was separated from his board in 60 mph winds, and two people were rescued from the Tyne by the RNLI after their boat was capsized by the wind.

Fallen trees on the line between Carlisle and Lancaster caused delays on the Northern Rail service, while a small number of flights were diverted at Manchester Airport. In Ireland, thousands of properties were left without electricity after Storm Clodagh battered the republic.

A flurry of local authorities were forced to cancel their Christmas lights switch-on celebrations, with the list including Kilmarnock, Stoke, Maidenhead, Lichfield and Gosport.

A spokesman for MeteoGroup, the weather forecasting service, said: "We've had gusts all day reaching at least 60 mph in coastal areas. One gust we know went up to 70mph at Teesside, north Yorkshire, and there were low-level gusts in the 70s in north-west Wales

"It's lessening now quite nicely as we're between pressure systems. Tomorrow it's not going to be as breezy

But, forecasting rain and snow in northern England and in Scotland during the week, he said: "It's becoming windier next weekend and staying very unsettled. We could see 50mph gusts next weekend."

Like the Met Office, MeteoGroup warned that flooding could hit Britain by the middle of next week.

"There is a real flood risk in Scotland, northern England and north Wales because of the cumulative effect of rain over three or four days."

While the temperature will remain unstable across the country, and will be particularly variable in Scotland, England and Wales are set to stay very mild over the next few days. 

It could be 15C (59 F) on Tuesday in the south-east of England - well above average for early December.