Christmas getaway chaos as 'do not travel' alert and entire railway line blocked issued amid 80mph Storm Pia gusts

21 December 2023, 08:44 | Updated: 21 December 2023, 13:17

Britain is betting battered by effects from Storm Pia
Britain is betting battered by effects from Storm Pia. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Commuters have been told to avoid travel as Storm Pia's 80mph winds threaten the Christmas getaway.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A wind warning has been put in place for northern England, north Wales, the Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland for most of the day.

British Airways grounded some flights on Thursday, with a spokesperson saying: "As a result of Air Traffic Control restrictions put in place because of Storm Pia, we have had to make some adjustments to our schedule today."

The railway line from London Euston to Manchester was blocked on Thursday afternoon because of damage to the overhead wires. All trains were cancelled as engineers assessed the damage. Manchester Piccadilly station apologised.

TransPennine Express put out a "do not travel" warning, "strongly" recommending passengers wait until after 3pm to make their trip.

ScotRail cancelled services on seven lines including Glasgow to Oban and Mallaig and Inverness to Aberdeen.

Read more: Christmas travel chaos fears, as 70mph winds to sweep across Britain with Storm Pia this week

Avanti West Coast routes between Glasgow Central and Lockerbie, and Edinburgh and Lockerbie, could de delayed by up to an hour due to speed restrictions.

Meanwhile, CrossCountry warned services between Edinburgh and Newcastle could be cancelled or delayed, while LNER warned trains could be cancelled, delayed or altered. Some of their trains could terminate at Newcastle instead of Edinburgh.

Northern said its trains could be delayed by up to 45 minutes, and East Midlands Railway said services between Nottingham and Crewe could be affected due to damage to overhead wires.

Britain is facing strong wind and rain
Britain is facing strong wind and rain. Picture: Alamy

Schools in Shetland have had to shut while some ferry services were scrapped.

A yellow weather warning was put in place by the Met Office from midnight and is due to last until 9pm.

Gusts of up to 80mph have been forecast, while other parts of the country will see them hit 55mph.

Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: "We've issued a large yellow warning area where there's a potential for some impacts, but gusts of 50 to 60mph are possible for large parts of central and northern areas of the UK.

Read more: Exact day snow to start falling this week ahead of White Christmas

"Exposed coasts and high ground could see gusts of 70-80mph at times, mainly across the far north of Scotland.

"There's a chance this low pressure will continue to exert its influence into Friday, so it's important to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecast."

The disruption comes ahead of the big getaway tomorrow, with any issues from the weather compounding the AA's warning of more than 16 million car journeys clogging the roads.

Britain is being battered by strong wind
Britain is being battered by strong wind. Picture: Met Police

It has issued an amber travel alert.

And the bad weather will last into the weekend, which will bring rain for many parts and the chance of snow "most likely confined to high ground in northern Scotland".

Mr Gundersen said: "Christmas Day looks like being fairly unsettled in northern and western areas. Any showers in the north could be wintry with hail and thunder, but even here, any snow will be mainly on high ground.

"The south of the country will see the best of the drier and brighter conditions. While temperatures will be near normal for the time of year it will be a windy day for many meaning it will feel colder.

"Beyond Christmas Day further rain or showers and strong winds are likely for many, and again any sleet and snow will be mainly over the hills of Scotland, as is often the case in December."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The remains were found near Jay Slater's holiday rental

Live updates: Body found in Jay Slater hunt - Police recover young man's remains from village cliffside

Jay Slater Tenerife timeline: Hunt for missing British teen Jay Slater enters fifth day - here's what we know

Timeline of Jay Slater's disappearance: Everything we know as remains are found 29 days after he went missing

Human remains were found by police looking for missing Jay Slater

Human remains found 'in a very inaccessible area' by police searching for missing 19-year-old Jay Slater

Police have launched a new search for the body of Muriel McKay

'This is our last chance': Police launch new search to find Muriel McKay's body

Flight carrying hungover England fans from Euros makes emergency landing after 'undefined smell' wafts through cabin

Flight carrying hungover England fans from Euros makes emergency landing after 'undefined smell' wafts through cabin

The Prince and Princess of Wales have issued a new image

William and Kate hail 'inspirational' England team as they share photo of Charlotte and Louis watching Euros final

Married school chaplain banned from teaching over illicit relationship with ‘very vulnerable’ student

Married school chaplain banned from teaching over illicit relationship with ‘very vulnerable’ student

'Terrible shot': Trump gunman Thomas Matthew Crooks

Would-be Trump assassin tried to join school shooting club but was rejected for being a ‘comically bad’ shot

England manager Gareth Southgate leaving the team hotel in Berlin, Germany

They're coming home: Forlorn Gareth Southgate and England squad leave Berlin hotel after Euro's heartbreak

Thomas Matthew Crooks pictured in his high school year book from 2022

Thomas Matthew Crooks: Everything we know about the Trump gunman described as a 'bullied loner’

King Charles has sent a private letter to Donald Trump after he was shot in the ear

King Charles sends private message of support to Donald Trump after former president survives assassination attempt

Gareth Southgate after England's defeat against Spain

Gareth Southgate tipped for new honour as his future remains in the balance following Euro's heartbreak

Jay Slater's mother condemns 'vile' conspiracies in statement a month on from teen's disappearance in Tenerife

Jay Slater's mum slams 'vile' conspiracies a month on from teen's disappearance - as new search team land in Tenerife

Tributes have been paid to Shannen Doherty after her death from cancer aged 53

Tributes paid to Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannen Doherty as she dies aged 53 following breast cancer battle

The victims are named as Albert Alfonso, 62, and Paul Longworth, 71 (middle and right)

Pictured: Two men, 62 and 71, whose remains were found in suitcases in Bristol

Ian Cameron, 74, was discovered at his German home on Friday evening

British former head designer at Rolls-Royce, 74, found 'stabbed to death on his doorstep'