Storm Ophelia expected to bring further disruption to UK as rail lines blocked


Storm Ophelia is causing further disruption after three people died in hurricane-force winds and hundreds of thousands were left without power.

Scotland is braced for gusts of up to 70mph and flood warnings are in place on its west coast as the remnants of the hurricane continue to batter the British Isles.

Signs of further impacts began to emerge ahead of the Tuesday rush hour as operator Northern said several trees were blocking the line between Halifax and Bradford Interchange.

There was a further report of a landslip on the line and commuters were warned poor road conditions could further hit rail replacement services.

Trains were also unable to run between Manchester Airport and Wilmslow station in Cheshire after a tree fell on overhead electrical wires.

Virgin Trains said a tree blocking the railway at Lockerbie was causing disruption to journeys and work was underway to remove it.

Meanwhile, schools on both sides of the Irish border will remain closed for a second day as authorities begin to assess the damage.

Ireland experienced the worst of the weather on Monday, with winds of almost 100mph damaging electricity networks and causing widespread disruption.

One man was killed in Ravensdale, Dundalk, when a car he was in was struck by a tree at around 2.45pm, gardai said.

He has been named in reports as Fintan Goss, 33, who was a father-of-two, according to the Irish Independent.

In Cahir, Co Tipperary, a 31-year-old was killed in a chainsaw accident when he was trying to clear a tree downed by the wind.

He has been named locally as Michael Pyke.

Earlier, a woman driver in her 50s died when a tree fell on her car in strong winds near Aglish village in Co Waterford.

The Irish Independent reported the victim was former oncology nurse Clare O'Neill, who was due to celebrate her 59th birthday on Tuesday.

The Met Office has reduced the area covered by a yellow weather warning, but has still said a spell of "very windy weather is likely".

Their forecast added: "Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs, could happen."

Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, northwest England and northwest Wales are no longer covered by the warning, but south west Scotland, parts of north east England and Yorkshire are still subject to the warning.

Forecaster Steven Keates said commuters should expect "very gusty conditions", with winds of up to 70mph.

He said: "The strong winds will continue but should moderate a little bit compared to what we have seen.

"There's still a risk of gales and it's still strong enough to cause disruption, but a little bit down on what we have seen."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar on Monday afternoon to offer support to affected areas.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "On Storm Ophelia, the Prime Minister expressed her sympathies for the loss of life and said the UK Government stood ready to provide any support if requested."

Around 330,000 homes and business were still without power on Monday night following the worst storm on record on the island of Ireland.

Help from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK is expected to be drafted in on Wednesday to help restore power, ESB, the Republic of Ireland's electricity network, said.