There was more misery for millions travelling home from work tonight with trains severely disrupted and roads closed due to flooding and fallen trees.
Few parts of Britain have escaped the travel chaos since yesterday afternoon, with various busy rail routes still shut after 100mph winds hit the country.
And the Highways Agency reported a series of closures and flooded roads while train companies warned passengers to expect continuing delays.
Some 60,000 households remained without electricity today, with Wales the worst affected area by the ‘Wild Wednesday’ storms yesterday.
Travellers reported being stuck on trains for hours on end as several of the country’s major arteries, including the west coast main line, were shut down.
Around Britain: There was more misery for millions travelling to work today with train services severely disrupted and roads closed due to flooding and fallen trees
Swirling: This satellite image received yesterday by the University of Dundee shows the scale of the storm, which covers the entire western side of the UK
A sign at Euston train station (left) advising commuters that all Virgin Train serviced had been cancelled. Firefighters were called to Crewe train station (right) in Cheshire after roof panels fell on to overhead lines and caused a small fire. The station was evacuated as a precaution and trains did not stop there
We apologise for the late running of this train: Commuters at a busy Manchester Piccadilly station last night
The winds were so severe last night Virgin Trains urged all customers to ‘abandon travel’. Travellers already on trains were let off at the nearest station.
Many travellers who were already on board trains described being stuck for several hours.
Rachel Sigsworth wrote on Twitter: ‘Stuck on a wobbling train in the middle of a storm! Freezing! Starving! Wet foot! Send help!’
Tony Hawks posted a message to say: ‘I am stuck on a train in the West Country. I have been on it for five hours’.
And Erin Mary Elizabeth wrote: ‘Seriously was stuck between Basingstoke and Fleet for ages on the train in the dark. Not fun.’
One bit of good news on the roads was the reopening of a section of the M2 in north Kent which was shut on Tuesday after a 15ft-deep hole was found.
There were no train services between Liverpool Lime Street and Crewe until 10am due to overhead wire damage near Runcorn in Cheshire.
Early-morning travellers had to take replacement buses. Also in the North West, trains between Blackburn and Clitheroe were suspended.
Unusual sight: Foam which could be mistaken for snow being blown from the turbulent sea last night – covering homes and cars in Blackpool, Lancashire
Weather havoc: A lorry falls on top of car on the M60 in Greater Manchester last night
Damage: The aftermath of the high winds in Manchester this morning are seen in Chorlton, a suburb of the city
Fallen down: A car wash roof collapsed in the Whalley Range area of Manchester
Damage: Builders inspect the roofs on the new set of TV soap Coronation Street at Media City in Salford, Greater Manchester, after slates were blown off
Additionally, there were delays between Preston and Blackpool North, Sheffield and Manchester, and Stockport and Macclesfield.
In north-east England there was damage to overhead power lines between Wakefield and Doncaster and between York and Darlington.
Among services affected was the London to Leeds/Doncaster route while there were delays between Leeds and Wakefield Westgate/Doncaster.
In the Midlands there were no early-morning trains between Birmingham New Street and Stafford.
Meanwhile, further south, flooding at Maidenhead in Berkshire was causing disruption to First Great Western services.
Seahorses: Floodwater covers Pitchcroft Race Course in Worcester in the West Midlands.
Island nation: A house near the flooded village of Moorland in Somerset. The owner has built his own flood defences
No end in sight: The floodwaters stretch to the horizon for these unfortunate householders
Waterworld: Heavy rain is now forecast to fall over the next few days thanks to two storms currently heading across the Atlantic
Drastic measures: Floodwater is pumped away from the flooded village of Moorland in Somerset
These aerial pictures show the streets of Moorland, utterly swamped by rising floodwaters. The image on the right shows people being rescued by emergency services
Also in the Thames Valley, flooding at Datchet in Berkshire and surrounding areas meant buses had to run instead of trains between Staines and Windsor & Eton Riverside, with this section of line not expected to reopen until tomorrow.
Services run by the Southern train company continued to be affected by a landslip at Oxted in Surrey, which is not expected to reopen until Monday.
In Wales and western England many rail services were affected. One of the many Welsh problems was on the Clarbeston Road to Fishguard Harbour route where a number of fallen trees were preventing services running.
A Network Rail spokesman said today: ‘Immense efforts by hundreds of rail engineers overnight have seen scores of tress removed from blocked lines, over a dozen dewirements repaired and hundreds of pieces of debris cleared of the track across Wales and the north of England.’
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which speaks on behalf of the rail industry, said: ‘While passengers in some areas continue to be badly affected by disruption, the vast majority of services are running. We apologise to anyone whose journey has been hit by the bad weather and thank passengers for their patience.’
White effect: A hail storm covers a street in the St Werburghs area of Bristol, looking like snow
All white: Snow falling in Shepton Malett, Somerset, this morning, after much of the country was hit by high winds and heavy rain
Problems: Penton Hook Weir is surrounded by debris as the River Thames levels remain high in Staines-Upon-Thames, Surrey
Burst its banks: Flood water surrounds housing in Staines-Upon-Thames, Surrey. Water has remained high in some areas and high winds are causing disruption
On the roads, drivers were having to contend with two-hour delays northbound on the M40 in Oxfordshire after an accident
The M6 was closed northbound from junction 44 at Carlisle North to junction 45 at the A74/M junction due to an overturned lorry.
A section of the M40 between Banbury and Gaydon in the Midlands was also shut. Strong winds meant that one lane on the M48 Severn Bridge between junction 1 at Aust and junction 2 at Chepstow was closed.
Floods and fallen trees affected many roads. In Wales the A44 was closed in both directions between Ponterwyd and Dyffryn Castell because of several trees in the road. In Worcester a number of roads were impassable, including the A44 in the city centre.
Among roads closed by flooding were the A272 at West Meon in Hampshire, the A308 in Runnymede in Surrey, the A320 at Chertsey in Surrey and the A321 in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
In Scotland, the A93 at Braemar in Aberdeenshire was closed because of snow.
Heavy rain is now forecast to fall over the next few days thanks to two storms currently heading across the Atlantic.
ESCAPE TO WINTER SUN: HOW FED-UP BRITS ARE SEEKING SUNNIER CLIMES IN DROVES
Flights and package holidays are fully booked as millions escape one of Britain’s wettest winters yet.
More than a million people will fly out of Heathrow this weekend and a spokesman for Gatwick said demand has risen by 7 per cent from last year to 912,000.
Around 473,000 people will fly from Manchester Airport, while 120,000 will go from Luton and 250,000 will leave Stansted. A spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents said: ‘This is definitely influenced by the weather.
‘People need something to look forward to. Egypt has been popular as a last-minute sunshine break and it is peak season in the Caribbean. Thailand, Dubai and the Canaries – where it is 70F [21C] – have also been popular.
‘It is not just the half-term week. People have booked last-minute sunshine breaks for next week but they are also booking for the summer already. There has been a 10 per cent increase compared to last year.’ Jet2 airline said it had doubled its bookings on this time last year and Monarch Airlines has had a 7 per cent rise on last year.
Virgin Atlantic has also reported an increase in demand while ski companies have experienced a 20 per cent jump in sales for half-term compared to previous years.
Firefighters on scene: The roof of the Day’s Mobility stop on Gendros Crescent in Swansea that has been ripped off by gale force winds that have been battering Wales
Weather trouble: A snow plough clears snow on the Northumberland border (left) and a house in Northwich, Cheshire, damaged by last night’s high winds (right)
Beautiful scene: Snow covers the trees at Kielder in Northumberland, near the England-Scotland border
The storm killed Roger Hayward, 71, who was electrocuted while attempting to move a tree which took down power cables near Chippenham, Wiltshire.
And a 33-year-old driver died in Macclesfield, Cheshire, after swerving to avoid a tree in a road and crashing into another car at around 7am today.
Last night about 130,000 homes and businesses were without power across the country, with 10,000 affected in the North West.
There were also 52,000 in Mid and North Wales, 10,000 in Cheshire, 13,000 in the West Midlands and 19,000 in the South West.
Meanwhile the London Evening Standard reported today that the River Thames was flowing with up to four times its normal power.
Prime Minister David Cameron will lead talks on Britain’s recovery from the weather after questions were raised about his claim that ‘money is no object’.
Found at low tide: One of three ancient cannons in place to defend Lyme Regis in Dorset, which went missing in the storms earlier this week
Where it once stood: Eye witnesses in Lyme Regis have said they saw the solid iron canon lifted by a wave and swept away like it was a toy
Blown over: A Northern Powergrid photograph of damage to a pylon, caused by severe winds overnight, just south of Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear
Reopened motorway: Engineers continue to work at the scene of a 15ft hole which appeared on the M2 near Sittingbourne, Kent
Mr Cameron reiterated his pledge after Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said yesterday that it was not a ‘blank cheque’.
More than 188,000 people have now backed the Mail’s petition – which you can sign here – for Mr Cameron to use foreign aid cash to tackle flood crisis.
The floods which have wreaked havoc were an ‘almost unparalleled’ natural crisis, army chief Major General Patrick Sanders said, as hundreds of troops help home owners defend their properties from ever-rising waters.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the chaos even threatened to derail Britain’s economic recovery.
After a brief respite today Britain faces more chaos as another storm brings heavy rain, strong winds and further risk of flooding tomorrow and into the weekend.
Horrendous conditions: Traffic makes its way along Blackpool Promenade in Lancashire during high winds
Spray: A man getting as closer look at the turbulent Blackpool seafront – but getting stuck in the process
Road closed: Waves break over the sea wall at high tide in Aberystwyth, West Wales, as a storm strikes the west of Britain with winds gusting at up to 100 miles per hour in some places
The West Country is expected to have 2.75in of rain by tomorrow, the Met Office said – more than the region would normally get in the whole of February – while South Wales, western Scotland, Northern Ireland and other parts of southern England are also expected to be lashed by the deluge.
Snow is expected in northern England and parts of Scotland today, and tomorrow more rain and winds of up to 80mph will arrive from the South West.
The weather continues to cause travel chaos, with warnings that passengers should expect more major disruption on the rail network.
Tim Field, for Energy Networks Association, which represents energy companies in the UK, said: ‘We continue working throughout today to get as many of those people back on supply as quickly and as safely as possible.
‘We have seen some pretty horrendous conditions. Wales has suffered very strong winds of over 100mph, gusts in excess of 80mph and 90mph quite frequently on land, and that has caused a lot of damage across the network across Wales so that is where we are seeing the majority of those people off supply at the moment.’
Wind turbines on Anglesey burst into flames on Wednesday as gales battered the North Wales coastline.
They were described as ‘giant Catherine wheels’ after catching fire between 6pm and 7pm near the village of Cemaes on the north coast of the island.
Emma Shortman, who lives nearby, said: ‘I’ve never seen it happen before. There were sparks coming off the turbines.
‘I was worried they might set the other turbines on fire.’
HOW THE WEATHER HAS WREAKED HAVOC ACROSS BRITAIN’S RAILWAYS, ROADS AND BRIDGES
- Disruption in north western England:
- High winds and heavy rain have caused delays and cancellations in the Lancashire, Merseyside, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester area with East Midlands Trains, First TransPennine Express, London Midland, Northern Rail and Virgin Trains services all affected
- Routes between Oxford and Didcot Parkway are all affected:
- CrossCountry trains between Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds and Southampton Central to Bournemouth have reported disruption
- First Great Western trains between Worcester, Banbury, Oxford and London Paddington
- In north east England, routes have been affected following storms that have damaged overhead power lines:
- The East Coast service between Leeds to Doncaster and London Kings Cross is suffering delays and a reduced services
- Northern Rail’s service between Darlington and York have been affected
- Wales has had several routes affected, with Arriva Trains Wales reporting bus services replacing trains throughout the region
- All trains between London Paddington and Reading have been severely disrupted:
- First Great Western has reported widespread cancellations and major delays on routes between London and South Wales, London to Bristol, Exeter, Cheltenham and Worcester, London to Reading and Thames Valley branch lines
- There has been severe disruption in the Taunton and Plymouth / Penzance region:
- CrossCountry and First Great Western services report that there are widespread cancellations following the storm destroying the track near Dawlish
- M2 Kent – Two lanes closed on M2 in both directions between J5, A249 (Sittingbourne) and J6, A251 (Faversham), because of emergency repairs to a massive sinkhole
- A22 Greater London – A22 Purley Road closed and queueing traffic in both directions between Purley Cross in Purley and Wapses Lodge Roundabout in Whyteleafe, because of flooding
- A272 Hampshire – A272 closed in both directions between the A32 junction in West Meon and the B3046 junction in Bramdean, because of flooding
- A308 Surrey – A308 Windsor Road in Runnymede closed in both directions between Runnymede Roundabout and the A328 Priest Hill junction, because of flooding
- A372 Somerset – A372 in Huish Episcopi closed in both directions between the Wagg Drove junction and the Tengore Lane junction, because of flooding
- A438 Gloucestershire – A438 in Northway closed in both directions at Tewkesbury, because of flooding
- A449 Worcestershire – A449 Croft Road in Worcester City Centre closed in both directions between the Castle Street junction and the A44 Dolday junction, because of flooding
- A491 Worcestershire – A491 Stourbridge Road in Belbroughton blocked in both directions between the Dark Lane junction and the Bromsgrove Road junction, because of flooding
- A3057 Hampshire – A3057 Greatbridge Road in Romsey closed in both directions between the Yokesford Hill junction and the Fishlake Meadows junction, because of flooding
- A4094 Buckinghamshire – A4094 Ferry Lane/ Sutton Road in Bourne End closed in both directions between the Hedsor Road junction and the Sheephouse Road junction, because of flooding
- M40 Oxfordshire – Queueing traffic for two miles on M40 northbound between J11, A361 (Banbury) and J12, B4451 (Gaydon), because of accident investigation work
- M48 Gloucestershire – One lane closed on M48 Severn Bridge between J1, A403 (Aust) and J2, A466 (Chepstow), because of strong winds and restrictions
- A44 Worcestershire – A44 Worcester Bridge in Worcester City Centre closed in both directions from the A443 Hylton Road junction to the North Parade junction, because of flooding
- A456 Worcestershire – A456 in Newnham Bridge closed at Talbot Inn, because of flooding
- A490 Powys – A490 in Welshpool closed in both directions between Sarn Bryn Caled Roundabout, Welshpool and Cilcewydd Bridge, because of flooding
- A4104 Worcestershire – A4104 Upton Bridge in Upton upon Severn closed between the A38 junction and the B4211 Church Street junction, because of flooding
- Manchester Airport cancelled 15 departures and 16 arrivals on Wednesday. Some nine flights were diverted from Manchester to other airports. Today it was ‘calm and quiet’ with just one cancellation. It was ‘fingers crossed’ for Friday with approaching storms from about midday. British Airways cancelled five flights today which was ‘not out of the ordinary’ but was monitoring the weather.
SOURCES: National Rail, BBC, Highways Agency
Awful conditions: An overturned lorry on the A640 heading towards Oldham, Greater Manchester
Oh I don’t like to be beside the seaside: Battered properties are pictured (left) and bricks lay on the ground (right) in storm-ravaged Blackpool, Lancashire
On the road: A sign at the entrance to Castle Vale Retail Park in Birmingham is blown over during the high winds
Imports: Van Heck Dutch pumps are installed at Dunball Sluice, Bridgwater, to aid with the flooding pumping operation on the Somerset Levels
The Environment Agency has shipped 13 of the Dutch-built pumps to the flooded lowlands in Somerset
Chilly: A driver makes his way through wintry conditions on Exmoor as the cold weather sweeps across the UK
With 5,800 properties flooded since early December and no immediate end to the crisis in sight, Mr Cameron will cut short his attendance at an international wildlife conference today to focus on dealing with the flooding.
A new Cabinet committee on flood recovery will also meet today, replacing a scheduled meeting of the full Cabinet.
Maj Gen Sanders said 1,600 troops had been committed and thousands more were available if needed to help communities deal with flooding.
‘There’s more that we can do and we want to do more wherever we can make a difference, so please use us, that’s what we’re here for,’ he said.
The Ministry of Defence last night said more than 2,000 military personnel were on ‘high-readiness’ to respond to requests in flood-affected areas
Yesterday residents in parts of the UK were warned not to venture out after the Met Office issued a ‘red’ weather warning for exceptionally strong winds in western Wales and north-west England.