Motorists told to ‘drive carefully’ in final Christmas travel rush, as 70mph winds to batter Brits amid 'lengthy jams'

24 December 2023, 09:48

Travel disruptions are expected in the final Christmas rush.
Travel disruptions are expected in the final Christmas rush. Picture: Getty/Met Office

By Jenny Medlicott

Brits have been warned of ‘lengthy jams’ in the final dash to make it home on Christmas Eve as heavy winds are set to cause disruption.

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Winds of up to 70mph may cause flying debris and power cuts across the country on Sunday.

Two yellow wind warnings have been issued by the Met Office, warning that “strong, very gusty winds” are likely to cause travel disruption as millions take to the roads in the Christmas rush.

The strong gusts are expected to hit northern and central England as well as much of Scotland.

The Met Office has also warned there is a risk of damage to buildings and roofs, the possibility of fallen trees, power cuts and flying debris. Mobile services could also be affected.

Parts of the country can also expect to see heavy rain.

Forecaster Jonathan Vautrey said: “Obviously there will be quite a lot of people travelling and wanting to get home for Christmas itself.

“Particularly with these strong winds we could see some flying debris thrown on to particular roads or railway services, so if you get a tree down then that’s going to cause cancellations and delays.

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It comes after disruptions caused by Storm Pia on Thursday.
It comes after disruptions caused by Storm Pia on Thursday. Picture: Getty

“There’s the potential for isolated power cuts which will again lead to the risk of some disruption at times.”

"If you've got a particular train that you're catching make sure you're looking ahead of time if there have been any cancellations.

"Just make sure you're driving carefully, there's the potential that high-sided vehicles could get hit by strong gusts of wind which has the potential to cause impacts, so we might see bridges closing as well."

Rail services are likely to be disrupted on Sunday too as London’s King’s Cross and Paddington stations have shut for engineering work. London Euston has also been hit by a wave of cancellations.

National Rail has urged people to check before they travel due to the engineering works.

Services from Avanti West Coast have also seen cancellations due to staff shortages - impacting those travelling to the Midlands, northwest England, north Wales and southern Scotland.

London Northwestern Railway has warned that “a surge in sickness absence” will result in “significant disruption on Christmas Eve”.

“Up to 50 per cent of services may be at risk of short notice cancellation unless there is a material change in our forecast crew availability,” it said.

There will be no mainline trains to Heathrow Airport until Wednesday.