Storm Katie batters Britain with gusts of over 100mph


Britons returning home after the Easter weekend have been hit by travel misery as Storm Katie battered large parts of the country.

Flights have been diverted, thousands of homes left without power and trains were delayed after heavy rain and winds of up to 106mph hit the central and southern England.

The Met Office warned that flooding is expected across the South West and issued 136 flood alerts across the country.

The Dartford River Crossing and M48 Severn Bridge were closed overnight on Sunday because of strong winds, while gusts were so strong a crane in Greenwich, London collapsed.

Several train routes were hit by long delays as the powerful storm blew trees onto the tracks and plane passengers told of  "scary" aborted attempts to land at Gatwick Airport before being diverted elsewhere in the country.

Georgia Humphreys wrote on Twitter: "Craziest flight. Diverted to Stansted because weather too bad to land at Gatwick - bloody scary, very relieved to be on land tbh (to be honest)."

Arnon Woolfson wrote: "Grateful to be on the ground now in #EastMidlands after scary failed attempts to land @Gatwick_Airport in #StormKatie.

Dan Prince wrote: "Worst flight of my life - so f****** scary trying to land into Gatwick aborted at the last min then we arrive in Birmingham."

A Gatwick Airport spokeswoman said 26 flights had been cancelled and 23 diverted because of the bad weather, while Heathrow cancelled 61 flights and another 20 were diverted.

A Heathrow spokesman said: "Due to strong winds and heavy rainfall from Storm Katie, there are delays to some flights and a small number of cancellations at Heathrow today. Passengers are advised to check with their airline before travelling to the airport.

"We are sorry for any disruption caused."

A Gatwick spokeswoman said: "Due to adverse weather, a small number of flights at Gatwick have been cancelled and there is some disruption to roads around North Terminal.

"We advise passengers to check directly with their airline for the latest information and to leave extra time to travel to the airport."

Trains on the Southeastern railway line were delayed after trees were blown onto the track.

In the north Midlands, heavy rain and run-off from sodden fields closed the M6 northbound between junction 13 and 14 near Stafford early on Monday morning, with the southbound drivers urged to use caution navigating standing water.

Some 19,000 homes across the South and South East of England have been left without power, according to distributors UK Power Network.

A car overturned in the treacherous conditions on the M42 near junctions 1 and 2 in Worcestershire in the early hours of Monday, while in Surrey a 12ft trampoline was hurled across a garden landing on a shed.

The Central Motorway Police Group, which patrols the region's roads, said: "The weather is horrendous outside, heavy rain, snow and lots of standing water. Drive to the conditions or if you can stay in and eat chocy."

Earlier, officers had advised: "Typical Bank Holiday weather - snow, high winds, sleet, driving rain. Several bumps already reported - lots of standing water! #slowdown."

On the railways, East Midlands Trains also reported disruption on its London St Pancras to Sheffield route, with tunnel flooding closing a section of the northbound line between Derby and Chesterfield in Derbyshire.

There was also heavy flooding on the line between Derby and Stoke-on-Trent, delaying services in both directions between Derby to Crewe