Parts of the UK have been placed on ‘tornado watch’ while the Met Office has warned Brits not to sleep near windows as Storm Isha slams into the country with winds of up to 90mph.
People have been warned not to travel, with trains, flights and ferries cancelled as the UK is blanketed by ‘unusual’ danger-to-life warnings and two amber weather alerts which came into force at 6pm this evening until 6am tomorrow morning.
Rail, sea and air travellers are set to face disruption, with closures, cancellations and delays expected across a number of services. ScotRail shut down its entire network from 7pm with no rush hour services tomorrow morning, and Network Rail said the decision was being made to ‘keep passengers and our people safe’.
Responding to a petrified member of the public asking for advice to ‘avoid being injured’, the Met Office said: ‘The safest place, or where you can minimise the risks of injury in your home would be anywhere away from glass, such as windows and also rooms where there is no chimney stack above.’
PORTHCAWL: Waves crash against the harobour wall as members of the public look on today
GALWAY: A person battles against high winds along the seafront in Salthill on Sunday afternoon
DUBLIN: Fire crews stand around a metal shed that was lifted 20 feet into the air over a wall by high winds
LONDON: Severe delays and cancellations due to the storm are causing travel chaos
IRSIH SEA: Windy conditions have whipped up waves around the British Isles and Ireland. This ferry had departed Milford Haven in Wales for its crossing to Rosslare, Ireland
BLACKPOOL: Storm Isha sees huge waves batter the coast this morning
GALWAY: A clock tower falls to the ground in Eyre Square, Galway, amid high winds
Damage to homes and buildings, falling trees, power cuts, flying debris, large waves and even some flooding in places should also be expected, forecasters warn.
Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: ‘There is a potential that we could see the odd isolated tornado in western parts of the UK on Sunday evening.
‘They can cause some significant damage but often on a very localised scale, they often don’t tend to last very long.’
The Met Office has said ‘everyone will be affected’ by the storm, with meteorologist Tom Morgan reporting: ‘We’re expecting widespread gales to affect the UK, amber warnings are in place for large parts of the country.
‘There’s the potential for danger-to-life and damaging winds potentially leading to some power cuts in places, some large waves around coastal regions could bring some debris onto roads and trees could come down.’
He added: ‘We have a wind warning in place across the whole of the UK, it’s pretty unusual for the whole of the country to be under a blanket wind warning.’
A yellow wind warning also covers the UK, including parts of London and the southeast, while four rain alerts were in place around the country.
Nearly four inches of rain could fall over a few hours in some regions and cause localised flooding, with nine flood warnings already in place across England.
As of Sunday evening, there are 96 flood alerts in place across England, meaning flooding is likely, and 24 flood warnings, meaning it is expected.
LONDON: People wait with their coats and suitcases following travel disruption
LONDON: Those attempting to travel by rail may face difficulties due to the bad weather
DORSET: Brave swimmers brace the icy water as Storm Isha hits the UK
DORSET: Waves crash against a groyne at Boscombe beach today
DORSET: People kitesurf at Boscombe beach amid danger-to-life warnings
Many train lines across Scotland are closing tonight, with ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper among those stopping some services ‘while the worst of the weather hits the infrastructure.’
A train struck a tree at Crosshill, Glasgow, triggered an emergency response this evening. No one on board was injured, but Network Rail Scotland said the tree was wedged under the train.
ScotRail said the extreme weather meant no services would run from 7pm although trains departing their before the deadline would reach their destination.
It said: ‘All services across the country will be suspended from 19.00 tonight and there will be no rush hour services on Monday morning, as extreme weather from Storm Isha arrives.
Network Rail said the decision to close the lines tonight and into the morning ‘has been made to keep passengers and our people safe.’
Avanti West Coast has warned against travel, with trains running at reduced speed, while TransPennine Express is advising passengers not to use services between Preston and Edinburgh and Preston and Glasgow in the afternoon.
LNER, advises against travel north of Edinburgh from the afternoon and into Monday, while Transport for Wales cancelled a number of services.
Elsewhere, East Midlands Railway said it expected ‘significant disruption’ on Sunday and Monday and delays and alterations to services, while South Western Railway is reducing its trains in the west of England.
Air traffic control restrictions are in place, leading to some flight cancellations.
British Airways said: ‘Like other airlines, we have had to make schedule adjustments due to the adverse weather conditions across the UK and Europe caused by Storm Isha.
LEEDS: An aircraft arriving from Dublin is blown sideways when landing at the airport today
The Met Office has Yellow rain warnings in place as Storm Isha heads towards the UK
‘We’ve apologised to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans and our teams are working hard to get them on their way as quickly as possible.’
Ferry company Wightlink has also warned of potential disruption, while the RAC warned drivers to lower their speeds and even consider delaying journeys.
Storm Isha is the ninth named storm to hit the UK since the season began in September.
Each storm is named when it poses a risk to people and they are given names beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet.
The record number of named storms in one year is when the Met Office began the practice in 2015/16, with Storm Katie being the 11th and final storm of the season.
If there are three more named storms between next week and August, this year will mark a new record.
Cold Arctic air pushing south into North America is making the jet stream more active, the Met Office said, and because it flows from west to east, it is bringing stormier weather to the UK.
In Ireland, a Status Red wind warning has been issued for counties Donegal, Galway and Mayo ahead of the ‘destructive gusts’ expected today.
Amber warnings for wind are also in place for much of the UK in a rare move for the Met Office
Met Eireann said ‘extremely strong’ winds and ‘destructive gusts’ are expected in three counties in Ireland, particularly in coastal and exposed areas.
The red warnings are in place from 5pm to 9pm on Sunday in Galway and Mayo, and from 9pm on Sunday until 1am on Monday in Donegal.
There is a risk of dangerous coastal conditions, treacherous travelling conditions, and of significant and widespread power outages in these counties.
A Status Orange wind warning is in place across the country from 4pm or 5pm on Sunday until 2am or 3am on Monday.
Large coastal waves, very difficult travelling conditions, fallen trees and damage to power lines are expected during these periods.
Hundreds of power outages have already been reported in Bishopstown and Milltown in Co Cork and in south Co Tipperary, according to the ESB’s Powercheck site.
A Status Yellow wind warning is in place from 11am today until 4am on Monday.
In Northern Ireland, an amber warning is in place in all counties from 6pm today until 9am on Monday, with a spell of ‘very strong winds’ expected.
The Department of Infrastructure warned that despite contingency measures, public workers’ strike action may disrupt any responses to incidents such as debris on roads and floods.
It said all parts of Northern Ireland are expected to be affected, but the strongest winds will be in the early hours of Monday around the coast and in exposed locations.
Met Office Forecaster Ellie Glaisyer said: ‘The main thing about this storm is it is very widespread across the whole of the UK.
‘Quite often we see storms affecting the north west or the southern half of the UK, whereas this one, later on Sunday and into Monday, the whole of the UK is covered by a warning, which is relatively rare.
‘In that nature it’s a very widespread storm and it’s going to be affecting everybody. Heavy rain will affect everybody, those strong winds will affect everybody.
‘That’s the main difference to previous storms we have seen.’
East Midlands Railway said it expected ‘significant disruption’ today and Monday and delays and alterations to services, while Police Scotland advised people to avoid unnecessary travel.
The heaviest downpours may occur today as 30-50mm could fall in many places – and there is potential for peaks of 80-100mm over hills.
SUNDAY: Strong winds associated with Storm Isha are likely to bring some disruption across the UK
Amber warnings have also been issued on Monday (left) and yellow warnings are in place for Tuesday (right)
Terrifying satellite footage has showed Storm Isha forming off North America
Ellie Glaisyer of the Met Office said: ‘Quite often we see storms affecting the North-west or the southern half of the UK, whereas this one, later on Sunday and into Monday, the whole of the UK was covered by a warning, which is relatively rare. Heavy rain will affect everybody, those strong winds will affect everybody.’
A yellow warning for strong winds is in place from midday today until midday tomorrow, and again from 4pm tomorrow until midday Wednesday.