UK Weather: travel disruption as Met Office issues severest red alert for parts of the UK
Travellers are expected to face disruption as the Met Office warns people to stay indoors if possible
Travel disruption is expected across the UK after the Met Office issued the highest possible weather alert for parts of the country, and advised people not to “not travel” and “avoid the coast”.
As rush hour kicks off on Wednesday, travellers are facing diversions.
The Highways Agency (HA) has advised road users in the South West, North West and North East of England to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they travel, as high winds are forecast.
A HA Severe Weather Alert has asked those using high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes to take extra care when travelling due to the increased risk of vehicles blowing over.
Drivers are also asked to plan for their journey before they set out, checking the forecast and road conditions and to leave extra time if travel conditions are poor, and to delay their journey if the weather becomes severe.
There are still major disruptions for rail services, with severe delays between Reading and London due to flooding near Maidenhead, while the QEII bridge at the Dartford crossing has been shut due to high winds.
Avon and Somerset Police have closed Spine Road, St Philips Causeway, Arnos Vale, in Bristol, in both directions as a "safety precaution" after a lorry driver blew over in his vehicle.
The AA said it had attended 29 flood-stricken vehicles on Wednesday, bringing the total to more than 680 since Friday.
Both north-south rail arteries are now blocked.
The East Coast line is currently closed in both directions.
With the West Coast main line closed north of Preston for the remainder of the day, travellers between London, the north of England and Scotland were re-routed via the East Coast. But at 9pm, a train from Edinburgh to London King’s Cross struck a fallen tree and sustained damage.
National Rail Enquiries is also reporting major disruptions on Abellio Greater Anglia, Arrive Trains Wales, CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, First Great Wester, First Hull Trains, First TransPennine Express, London Midland, Merseyrail, Northern Rail, South West Trains, Southeastern, Southern, and Virgin Trains.
The organisation is also posting live travel updates on its Twitter page.
Virgin Trains, which operates across large parts of the UK including between London and Edinburgh, posted a message in capital letters on its official Twitter account urging "all customers to abandon travel".
It added: "Owing to overhead wire problems between Crewe and Liverpool Lime Street all lines are blocked, delays of up to 30 mins are expected."
All Virgin services out of London Euston are suspended until further.
Network Rail said some train services were running out of Euston station to Birmingham and Wolverhampton but with delays.
Several train firms said Crewe station was evacuated and all services stopped after the roof was blown off the station. There were also problems with overhead power lines in the area.
Problems have been reported at Lichfield near Stafford, Stoke, Crewe, Macclesfield and Stone.
Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and Surrey were among the counties where train disruption was rife.
In West Sussex, a lightning strike at Angmering caused signalling problems which affected services.
Those travelling from London through the Midlands and to the north west of England had to put up with speed restrictions tonight, with passengers warned to expect their journeys to take up to 60 minutes longer than normal.
There are minor delays to Northern Rail services.
Diversion advice for motorists:
Sections of many roads were closed due to flooding, with the depth of water causing a lane of the M25 in Surrey to close. Fallen trees added to the problems for motorists.
Among areas and routes affected by flooded roads and obstructions on the road were Purley in south London, a number of routes in Worcester city, the A29 in West Sussex, the A35 at Christchurch in Dorset, the A30 in Somerset, the A41 in Shropshire, and the A49 Wigan Road at Ashton-in-Makerfield in Greater Manchester.
M6 Cheshire, closed in both directions:
The M6 is closed in both directions between junctions J20 and J21 due to high wind speeds being experienced.
Diversions in operation:
Northbound traffic exit the M6 at J19 to join the A556 northbound and then join M56 eastbound and then the M60 clockwise to join the M62 westbound and then rejoin the M6 northbound..
Southbound traffic will exit the M6 at J21 and join the A57 westbound to join the A50 southbound to rejoin the M6 at J20A.
The A249 Sheppey Crossing is closed in both directions to all vehicles due to high winds. Traffic is being diverted via the Kingsferry Bridge.
The A14 Orwell Bridge in Suffolk is closed eastbound between junctions J55 and J58 and westbound between junctions J58 and J56 due to high wind speeds being experienced.
Traffic is being diverted in both directions between J55 and J58.
Eastbound traffic should exit at J55 and take the A1214 to the Woodbridge Road roundabout. Join the A1189 and continue to Felixstowe Road and join the A1156. Continue on the A1156 to J58 and rejoin the A14.
Traffic travelling west bound should follow the above route in reverse.
The A38 is closed in both directions between the A374 near Liskeard and the A388 due to an incident.
The M48, J1 - J2, Severn Crossing, is currently closed in both directions to all vehicles due to high winds.
Road users are advised to use the M4 (Second Severn Crossing) J22 - J23, as an alternative route.
The M2 is closed in both directions is closed between junctions J5 and J6, while we carry out emergency roadworks to a section of carriageway.
Signed diversion routes are in operation:
Eastbound traffic should exit the M2 at J5 and follow the “solid black circle symbol” using the A249 south to the M20 (J7). Join the M20 east and exit at J8. Take the A20 east to Charing and join the A252 north. At Challock take the A251 north to rejoin the M2 at J6.
Westbound traffic should exit the M2 at J6 and follow “solid black square” symbol using the above route in reverse to rejoin at J5.
Eastbound traffic wishing to travel to the Port of Dover is advised to use the M20 and A20.
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