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UK weather: Flight and rail chaos as air traffic control goes down after ‘hottest temperature in recorded history’

Follow our coverage as travellers were hit by delays and cancellations following extreme weather 

Emma Snaith,Samuel Osborne
Friday 26 July 2019 13:00
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UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

Air and rail passengers are being hit by more travel disruption even as temperatures cool after the hottest July day on record.

Flights from London airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, have been delayed and cancelled due to heatwave-related issues technical problems with the UK’s air traffic control system.

It comes as the Met Office received a new provisional recording of 38.7C in Cambridge on Thursday, which – if confirmed – would be a new temperature record for the UK.

The railway network still faces heavy delays and cancellations after soaring temperatures caused overhead cables to sag. Great Northern, Thameslink and East Midland Trains are among the train companies affected with passengers advised to avoid travelling unless the journey is essential.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has issued a severe weather alert over the weekend warning of potential flooding in north, northeast, northwest and southeast England.

Follow our coverage of the day

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It is an exceptionally warm start to Friday after the hottest July day on record, the Met Office has said.

emma.snaith26 July 2019 08:32
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Train commuters face disruption after the extreme heat caused overhead cable to sag.

Thameslink will have a reduced ability to run trains, with half of its lines unavailable.

The rail network advises passengers to “delay your journey and refrain from travelling at this moment in time”.

emma.snaith26 July 2019 08:40
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The weather is also causing difficulties to flights as thunderstorms cause significant delays. 

Flights were grounded at Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports as a result of poor conditions across Europe on Thursday evening. 

British Airways said that "severe thunderstorms are causing significant delays and cancellations to our operation in and out of London".

emma.snaith26 July 2019 08:53
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On the busiest day of the year for travellers, more than 100 flights have been cancelled to and from Britain’s airports, while on the railways passengers are still experiencing long delays and cancellations as a result of the extreme heat on Thursday.

British Airways has cancelled at least 50 flights to and from Heathrow airport – partly as a result of knock-on delays, but also to thin out the schedules and add resilience. 

Multiple services to and from Berlin and Rome have been cancelled, along with domestic links to and from Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Read more here:

emma.snaith26 July 2019 09:04
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Thunderstorms in the south east of England are continuing to bring heavy rain, gusty winds and lightning this morning.

Last night, thunderstorms gave some impressive displays across parts of the country.

"The thunderstorms could continue on and off through the course of the day," Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst said.

"There is enough energy in the atmosphere to keep it going."

emma.snaith26 July 2019 09:26
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The Met Office has issued a severe weather alert for tomorrow and Sunday, warning of potential flooding in north, north east and north west England.

The weather warning will be in force from 12pm tomorrow to 3pm on Sunday, although temperatures will still remain high today.

There is a small chance that homes and business could be flooded and a risk of cancellations to train and bus services, forecasters warn.

emma.snaith26 July 2019 09:42
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Gatwick airport has warned passengers to check with their airlines as “bad weather may cause some delays”.

​Numerous travellers at Stansted also reported delays and cancellations, with the airport telling one passenger on social media that air traffic control restrictions over the south-east of England prompted the problems.

emma.snaith26 July 2019 09:56
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Crowds of passengers wait at Euston station in London after the extreme heat caused havoc on the rail network. 

Rail companies feared trail lines would buckle, but it was sagging overhead cables which led to problems.

A busy Euston train station in London as morning train commuters face disruption (PA/Georgina Stubbs) 

emma.snaith26 July 2019 10:04
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Great Northern, Thameslink and East Midlands Trains say services across their networks are still facing heavy delays and cancellations. 

Passengers are advised to avoid travelling unless their journeys are essential.

Thameslink has warned passengers that if they decide to travel today, their journey will be extended by up to an hour.

emma.snaith26 July 2019 10:26
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Temperatures in Achnagart, northwest Scotland, fell to only 20.9C  last night, breaking the Scottish record for the highest 

minimum temperature.

emma.snaith26 July 2019 10:40

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