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Sunday, 22 December 2013
BY:FLORA LYIMO ~ KAMA UNASAFIRI FOR CHRISTMAS KUANZIA KESHO KWA WATU WA UK -UINGEREZA SOMA HII''' HATARI -DANGER'' RUWA MANGI!!
On the road: Motorists face disruption as heavy rain, pictured on the A14 near Cambridge today, and winds of up to 80mph are expected to hit the UK'
Millions of festive travellers face major disruption to their Christmas travel plans with severe gales and heavy rain expected to hit Britain tomorrow.
The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for tomorrow, with the threat of gusts of up to 80mph and localised flooding in pockets of the UK.
Motorists have been braced to prepare for delays on the roads - particularly those heading to the South-West of England and parts of Scotland.
Some 26 rail operators have warned services will be cut and speed restrictions imposed, with tens of thousands of people advised to travel today instead.
Many networks have made contingency plans, with Government-run East Coast halving services and Virgin Trains slashing them by up to two-thirds.
Under water: The River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre on this morning, causing flooding along the riverside''
Three day forecast: There will be heavy rain across much of the country tomorrow, potentially causing localised flooding and travel chaos''
Many operators removed limits on day tickets in an effort to stop customers travelling tomorrow, when 50mph speed restrictions are likely to be in place.
Robin Gisby, for Network Rail, said: ‘Our fundamental concern over the next 48 hours is to get everyone where they want to be for Christmas.’
He added: ‘I want to be very clear that our priority is running as many trains as we can safely, rather than worrying about hitting the timetable bang on.’
Mr Gisby said ‘hundreds of engineers and other staff will be across the network over the next two days, ready to react quickly to any problems’.
He stated that Network Rail would be checking their own weather stations rather than relying o just on outside forecasts.
The Environment Agency had 73 flood alerts and six flood warnings in place at 8pm tonight, with the majority in the South-East and South-West.
Residents in York have already been hit by severe flooding after heavy rain overnight across North Yorkshire caused the River Ouse to burst its banks.
Calum MacColl, a forecaster with the Met Office, said those looking to travel home for Christmas ought to prepare for problems on the roads and rails.
He said: ‘There is scope for very heavy rain, potentially some localised flooding, and strong winds in some areas so there is a risk of travel disruption.
‘We have got a depression in the Atlantic pushing towards us from tomorrow morning itself. The day will start quite nicely in some places.
Weather watch: The Environment Agency had 73 flood alerts and six flood warnings in place tonight, with the majority in the South-East and South-West''
Forecasters are predicting more flooding and storm force winds over the Christmas period as residents in York woke up to flooded streets this morning''
Watch out: A family is caught by a huge wave crashing down onto Aberystwyth promenade in West Wales''
Caught in the tide: A hide tide and strong winds cause huge waves on Aberystwyth promenade in West Wales''
‘But there will soon be heavy outbreaks of rain in the South-West and South Wales. That will quickly move into the North East, and it will bring gales.’
Mr MacColl said winds of 50 to 60mph were likely as a weather system sweeps across Britain, with isolated gusts of up to 80mph in some places.
He said: ‘Once the weather sets in, it will be staying all day.’ The worst of the weather is expected to clear by the end of Christmas Eve.
Those looking to make an early getaway have been hit by minor problems, with some England to France ferries delayed due to poor weather.
And train companies have already looked ahead to tomorrow, advising customers to plan their journeys around the heavy winds to avoid disruption.
East Coast is halving services from teatime tomorrow - with just four trains an hour instead of the usual eight in and out of London King’s Cross.
It warned disruption would continue for two days well into Christmas Eve. The news means up to 2,400 passengers an hour will be left stranded.
An East Coast spokesman said: ’As result of the high winds and heavy rainfall, and the restrictions in place, it is regretted that many East Coast services will be subject to delay and cancellation over the next two days.’
Customers were urged to travel early tomorrow or ‘later than planned’ on Christmas Eve.
A spokesman said: 'East Coast sincerely apologises to customers for the inconvenience this will cause, especially as it is very conscious many people will be travelling just before Christmas on Monday and Tuesday.'
Virgin Trains meanwhile is to slash services by up to two thirds between London Euston, Manchester and Birmingham.
Calm before the storm: A lone horse stands in a field near Bridgwater, Somerset, underneath a rainbow after a rain shower''
Dampening Christmas spirits: The latest flooding in York on Sunday comes just days before Christmas''
Many residents living in York city centre face a clean-up operation after the River Ouse burst its banks''
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