Storm Ciaran is causing widespread travel chaos, with cancellations and delays expected to last until Saturday as the UK braces for the weather event to hit.
The Met Office has issued two amber “danger to life” warnings, the second-highest level of alert, across England and Wales as heavy rain and strong winds started lashing the UK from Wednesday evening, prompting flights to be grounded and trains and ferry journeys to be shelved.
Met Office spokesperson Oli Claydon said the storm would bring coastal gusts of 70mph to 80mph and the potential for 85mph, with people urged to stay away from the water’s edge due to “very dangerous conditions”.
Northern Ireland has already seen flooding; a yellow rain warning from the Met Office was in place for the country until 9am on Wednesday.
The worst conditions are at sea, with warnings that waves in the Bay of Biscay could reach 14 metres (45ft) off the coast of Brittany. French forecasters are warning that gusts could exceed 160km/h (100mph).
Brittany Ferries have cancelled all UK-Spain voyages planned to cross the Bay of Biscay on Thursday. A ferry industry insider said: “The Bay of Biscay and Irish Sea is a monster. In the English Channel it’s a bit more like a bull in a china shop, with the worst damage expected throughout Thursday as the storm hammers through from west to east.”
All sailings by DFDS Ferries between the UK and France have been cancelled until Friday morning. The line normally links Dover with both Calais and Dunkirk. But the company said: “We regret to inform that sailings from the 11.59pm departure on 1 November until and including the 2am departure on 3 November have been suspended due to the extreme weather conditions.”
Affected passengers can contact the firm to rebook.
Earlier, DFDS said its Newhaven-Dieppe link would be suspended for 24 hours from Wednesday evening.
Condor Ferries have cancelled their sailings to and from Jersey until Saturday. The island’s airport is to be closed all day on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of dozens of flights including four to and from London Heathrow.
Passengers were told: “Airport authorities have decided to close the airport to commercial operations all day on Thursday. The airport will remain open for emergency and medical…