Britons have been urged not to travel today as Storm Franklin brings ‘life hazards’ of flooding, heavy rain, hail and 80 mph storms.
A tornado warning is in effect as the third devastating storm in just five days hits the UK overnight.
This morning, National Rail urged people to avoid rail travel today if possible – and to say that even when service resumes, there will be “serious disruptions” on routes “throughout much of the UK”.
Nearly all rail companies in the country, including Heathrow Express, Stansted Express, Cross Country and Thameslink, say their trains will be affected.
The South Western Railroad says the weather is “likely to hamper relief efforts for stranded customers.”
TransPennine Express is urging customers to “avoid traveling where possible”, especially those planning to travel north of Preston in Lancashire before 10:00 am.
COO Paul Watson said: “Due to the impact of Hurricane Franklin, train traffic along the West Coast Main Line has been disrupted.
“The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and we are warning customers not to travel between Preston and Edinburgh/Glasgow until 10:00 tomorrow.”
Great Western Railway said passengers should only travel “if absolutely necessary” as services on the network are expected to be “significantly disrupted”.
Greater Anglia warned that the line between Southminster and Wickford was blocked this morning due to “significant damage” and said “Please only travel if absolutely necessary”.
Northern has shared a photo from Rotherham station showing the line is completely underwater and says replacement buses are not available.
And Merseyrail says damaged barriers between Southport and Birkdale mean trains are currently unable to leave Southport station.
British Airways also canceled 17 flights from Heathrow this morning to destinations across Europe.
Meanwhile, 29,000 homes in Sligo and Donegal, Ireland, are out of power today.
It happens like:
The latest weather disaster came after the ferocious Storm Eunice killed four people and plunged 1.3 million homes into darkness on Friday, and Storm Dudley destroyed homes and cars last week.
For the first time since major storms were named in 2015, three have followed in such a short amount of time.
The Met Office warned that Franklin, an 800-mile-wide squall, would bring “strong and destructive gusts” and torrential downpours.
An amber wind warning was in effect across Northern Ireland from midnight to 7am. Now it’s expired.
Yellow warnings cover all of England and Wales and parts of Scotland until 13:00 Monday.
Heavy downpours have already caused dangerous flooding in some areas overnight.
🔵 Read our live weather forecast for the latest updates.
The River Mersey currently has two rare “severe” flood warnings – along with 315 other flood warnings.
Yorkshire was expected to be one of the hardest hit places.
The River Don overflowed its banks in Doncaster, South York, on Sunday evening, and police warned people to stay clear of the dangerous “fast-flowing” water.
More than 400 homes have already been evacuated in south Manchester ahead of expected flooding.
A heavy downpour could pose a life-threatening situation as the Mersey River swells in Greater Manchester, experts say.
And in Northern Ireland, Londonderry and Tyrone will suffer severe flooding as the flood continues.
In Shropshire, the River Severn threatens to overflow as emergency crews put up flood barriers along the waterway, as several areas in Wales are expected to flood.
It comes after huge waves hit coastal areas, homes were destroyed by high winds, and on Sunday, emergency services deployed flood protection equipment along swollen riverbanks.
Huge waves engulfed Newhaven Lighthouse in West Key, East Sussex, and Portcaul Lighthouse in Bridgend, Wales.
Katherine Smith, flood control manager at the Environmental Protection Agency, urged people to “stay clear of flooded rivers” while crews install temporary barriers and pumps on the river.
She said: “We advise people to stay away from flooded rivers and not to drive through flood waters, as just 30 cm of running water is enough to move a car.
“Residents near the Mersey River are being warned to take immediate action and prepare for property flooding.”
Earlier, Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna shared the warning from the Tornado and Storm Research Organization on Twitter.
It said, “While the risk is very low, there is a possibility of a tornado or two associated with today’s squally cold front.”
The storm will bring two inches of snow to the north.
The Met Office has issued a slew of weather warnings and millions of people have experienced strong winds as they commute to work on Monday.
Forecasters say the explosions will cause more power outages, traffic delays and damage.
The trouble of terrible weather began with Storm Dudley on Wednesday.
Meteorologist Becky Mitchell said the three named storms in such rapid succession is the first time since the system was introduced seven years ago.
“For the first time in a week, we had three named storms and launched the storm naming system in 2015,” she said.
“We have a really active jet stream, which is why we see so many storms heading straight for the UK.
“We had Dudley on Wednesday, Eunice on Friday and Franklin today.”
Her colleague Craig Snell told the Sun Online that conditions will finally ease next week.
“It will be windy during the week, but things look a little more typical for this time of year,” he said.
“It will be windy, but at the moment there are no warnings after Monday, and we are certainly not going to name new storms in the coming days.
“After we get rid of Franklin, it will still be windy, but hopefully not on the same scale as the last few days.
EXPLOSIONS AT 80 MPH
“Of course, it has been very, very turbulent lately.
“It was a very noticeable change in the weather.”
He said that a strong wind would hit the country this morning.
“The most likely location for disruption is Northern Ireland, but there could also be strikes along the coast of Lancashire and Merseyside and possibly North Wales,” he said.
“During the wee hours, winds can reach 80 mph along the northern coast of Northern Ireland, while any coastline adjacent to the Irish Sea can easily experience gusts of 60 to 70 mph.”
On Friday, Eunice was hit by the worst storm in years, knocking down trees, blowing roofs off houses and bringing down power lines.
The Energy Networks Association said it believed the UK may have experienced a record 24-hour power outage during the storm, impacting around 1.3 million homes.
More than 83,000 people across the UK are still without electricity.
The organization’s Ross Easton said 8,000 engineers are working to reconnect customers as part of a huge nationwide effort, but many homes will still be offline next week.
At the height of the storm, the roof of the O2 Arena in London was damaged, causing rapper Dave’s upcoming concerts to be postponed and the spire of St Thomas’ Church in Wells, Somerset, toppling to the ground.
O2 stated that they expect the scheduled UB40 concert to take place as scheduled on Friday. The establishment will remain closed until renovations are completed.
The British Insurers Association has indicated that cleaning up the entire UK could cost more than £300m.
A spokesman said: “No two storms are the same. The last major storms to hit the UK – Ciara and Dennis – resulted in over £360m being paid out by insurers.”
Unfortunately, three Britons and an Irishman are known to have been killed on Friday.
However, there was some respite even after the wind eased as new 80 mph storm warnings went into effect yesterday.
Forecaster Aidan McGivern said: “On Sunday, the wind will increase much later.
“There is a risk for the northern parts of the country – northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland – 50 to 60 miles per hour inland and 70 to 80 miles per hour around open coasts and hills.”