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Fury of Storm Ciaran: 104mph winds smash roofs while downpours flood roads and send cars into the sea
2 November 2023, 14:15 | Updated: 2 November 2023, 19:02
Storm Ciaran has been wreaking havoc in the UK on Thursday, with winds of over 100mph tearing across parts of the country, causing power cuts, train and flight cancellations and school closures.
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A major incident was declared for Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Jersey as schools shut and commuters faced severe disruption, with commuters in the south being urged not to travel on Thursday.
Authorities put 79 flood warnings in places across England on Thursday afternoon, meaning flooding is expected, and 195 flood alerts, where it is possible. Wales put 13 flood warnings in place, with Scotland flagging seven.
Jersey has seen some of the worst of the disruption so far, with windows smashed and roofs damaged by golf ball-sized hailstones amid gusts of 104mph. Several people have been taken to hospital.
Hundreds of schools in southern England were shut amid the storm, with massive travel disruption on motorways and railways. Southampton Airport and several other airports cancelled flights, while services were also suspended from the Port of Dover.
Several people had to be rescued from cars in flooded roads in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, while a car was washed into the sea in Devon.
Carl Walker, 45, from the Jersey town of St Helier, said no one had expected the storm to be as bad as it had been, adding that it was "like a disaster movie".
Mr Walker and his family were woken by were woken by huge hailstorms at midnight, which he said were "marble-sized" and had gelled together to create "golf ball sized lumps of ice".
"We camped out in our living room downstairs with our children because it was just simply too noisy and too frightening to be upstairs in the bedrooms - tiles were lifting, debris was hitting the roof, windows were flexing," he added.
"The noise of the wind was just incredible and quite frightening. It was like a scene from a disaster movie."
He added: "The area is scattered with debris, whether it be roof tiles, bits of masonry, large pieces of trees and I think the authorities here are doing what they can to focus on opening up the main roads and help people whose homes have been ruined by (the storm)."
Another Jersey resident, Suzie Phillips, said: "The hailstones were quite a bit heavier and bigger than a golf ball and we've had three windows damaged by them - in my daughter's bedroom, a landing and a bathroom," she said.
Police in Jersey urged people to stay indoors and said they had taken more than 100 calls to 999. Dozens of people were taken to hotels as their homes were damaged. One video showed cars smashed amid uprooted trees and debris.
UK Power Networks worked overnight to restore more than 16,500 power supplies across the south-east. But about 7,000 homes were cut off from power in Cornwall, a local councillor said, as gusts of more than 100mph hit the south-west,
A severe amber weather warning for wind was put in place from 3am on the southwest coastline, covering Plymouth and Exeter, running until 11am.
Meanwhile, a separate weather warning for wind, covering the southern and southeastern coastline, was given for Portsmouth, Brighton and Canterbury.
Elsewhere, a rain warning covering the north-east coast from Hull up to Aberdeen is set to last until 6am on Friday.
The storm has caused major travel disruption across much of southern England.
On the roads, extra tankers have been deployed to clear excess surface water in Kent, and crews have removed ‘several’ fallen trees on the roads.
Elsewhere, flooding has caused problems on the M23 near Crawley near Gatwick, and workers have been carrying out emergency repairs on the A29 in Bognor Regis, which have closed the road.
Emergency services workers have had to rescue people from cars stuck in flooded roads across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
One man had to be taken to hospital after his car went 150ft down an embankment, when he lost control after ploughing through a four-foot-deep puddle on the A303 in Hampshire. Sixteen firefighters needed 45 minutes to rescue him from his vehicle.
An unattended car was washed into the sea in Sidmouth, in Devon.
Somerset Council's highways teams responded to more than 100 incidents, about 30 of which involved fallen or hazardous trees. Many of the rest were flood-related issues.
Two buses were struck by debris in Capel-le-Ferne in Kent, with local services disrupted. No-one was injured.
Southern Rail urged commuters to work from home while Southeastern said passengers should not travel in and out of London before 9am while they check for fallen trees and debris on the line.
Services have been suspended on parts of the Southeastern network between Canterbury and Dover because of a fallen tree, and a landslide has meant that Southern services between Redhill and Tonbridge have also had to be suspended.
South Western Railway is also running a reduced service between Weymouth and Bournemouth due to earlier flooding. A trampoline was blown onto the line in Hastings, causing further disruption.
A spokesperson on behalf of train operators said: "Our colleagues will be working extremely hard over the coming days to keep passengers on the move but also to keep them safe during this bad weather.
"We will be working closely with Network Rail to understand the impact on the rail network, and we are encouraging passengers to check their journey before travelling."
Network Rail said: “Heavy rain accompanied by strong winds in some areas could affect journeys across Wales, the south of England and the Midlands on Thursday, and across the northeast of England and central and eastern Scotland on Thursday and Friday.
“Owing to the adverse weather conditions, passengers should allow extra time for their journeys and check before travelling as services may be disrupted.”
Heathrow, Gatwick, Southampton, Manchester, Bristol and other airports have had to cancel and delay some flights because of the weather.
British Airways has grounded 30 domestic and European flights, which includes two trips to Amsterdam, two to Belfast and two to Paris.
Meanwhile, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines told passengers: “Due to the expected weather conditions at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the runway capacity has been reduced on Thursday 2 November.
"As a result, some of our flights have been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience.”
P&O cancelled ferry services between Dover and Calais, although traffic can now access the port after it was closed earlier.
Dozens of schools across southern England have also had to close because of the storm, with lessons taking place online instead.
Officials were forced to close off Brighton city centre because of an unsafe building, while some people are reporting that tap water in Bournemouth and Christchurch is discoloured.
Bournemouth and Boscombe piers have also been forced to close, while the promenade in Bournemouth is covered with sand and debris.
Elsewhere, rivers in Dorset and Devon burst their banks amid torrential downpours.
Natural Resources Wales said Kiln Park caravan park in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, has already suffered flooding and the owners have asked guests to leave the site.
There was a severe flood warning in force for the River Ritec at Tenby.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has urged people watching the conditions to stay away from the coast.
People in several areas across southern England have been warned to stay home because of the weather in order to keep safe.
But Age UK said vulnerable people need "extra support" in storms like Ciaran.
The charity's director Caroline Abrahams said: "We need to do more in advance and when disasters hit to safeguard older people."
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Chris Almond, said winds of up to 90mph could hit some parts of the UK.
“Winds associated with Storm Ciarán are likely to gust to 80mph along the south coast of England, with a small risk of somewhere exposed seeing 90mph, and winds could even gust up to 50 or 60 mph further inland," he said.
"This deep low-pressure system will also bring heavy rain to much of the UK, but the heaviest rain is expected in southern and western areas with 20 to 25mm quite widely across the region but up to 40 to 60mm potentially over higher ground," Mr Almond continued.
"Heavy and persistent rain will fall onto already saturated ground bringing a risk of further impacts such as flooding in areas that are already struggling to clean up from the heavy rainfall we have seen over the last week or so."
The storm has also affected the Netherlands and France, with one person killed as of Thursday afternoon.
At least seven people are thought to have died in the storm, which caused the evacuation of an entire town in Scotland.
Full list of schools closed due to Storm Ciaran:
Altarnun Primary School
Camborne School and International Science Academy
Egloskerry SchoolLaunceston Primary School
Marazion School (opening late 10am)
Mousehole School (opening late 9am)
Newlyn School (opening late 9.30am)
Penwith Alternative Provision Academy
St Levan Primary School (opening late 10am)
Stratton Primary School (opening late 10.30-11am)
The Roseland Academy (opening late 10am)
Plymtree Church Of England Primary School
Woodbury Church Of England Primary School
Southbrook SchoolSt Helen's Church of England School
Pilton Community College
Uplowman Church Of England Primary School
Halberton Primary School
Hatherleigh Community Primary School
Lady Seaward's Church of England Primary School
The Topsham School
Clyst Vale Community College
Doddiscombsleigh Primary School
Ashburton Primary School
Brixington Primary Academy
Kenton Primary School
Kenn Church Of England Primary School
Cullompton Community College
Tiverton High School
South Dartmoor Community College
South Molton Community College
Tavistock Primary & Nursery School
Stokenham Area Primary School
Aveton Gifford CofE Primary School
Castle Primary School
Exbourne Church Of England Primary School
Chagford Church Of England Primary School
South Tawton Primary School
Chudleigh Knighton Church Of England Primary School
Uffculme Primary SchoolBere Alston Primary Academy
Great Torrington School
North Tawton Community Primary School and Nursery
Northlew And Ashbury Parochial Church Of England Primary School
Bridgerule Church Of England Primary School
Milton Abbot School
Boasley Cross Community Primary School
Tidcombe Primary School
St James Church of England Primary and Nursery School
Bowhill Primary School
Tipton St John Church Of England Primary School
Okehampton Primary School and Foundation UnitColyton Primary Academy
St Mary's Church of England Primary School, Brixton
Littleham Church of England Primary School
Ashwater Primary School
Halwill Community Primary School
Kings Nympton Community Primary School
Woodbury Salterton Church Of England Primary School
Farway Church Of England Primary School
Broadhembury Church of England Primary School
Ilfracombe Church Of England Junior School
Winkleigh Primary School
St Michael's Church of England Primary School
Whitchurch Community Primary School
Hawkchurch Church Of England School
The Lampard Community School
Musbury Primary School
Newton Abbot College
Highweek Community Primary and Nursery School
High Bickington Church of England Primary Academy
Branscombe Church Of England Primary School
Lydford Primary School
Highampton Community Primary School
St Catherine's CofE Primary School
Sidmouth Church Of England (VA) Primary School
Black Torrington Church Of England Primary School
Holsworthy Church Of England Primary School
Bradford Primary School
Cockwood Primary School
Bridestowe Primary School
Teignmouth Community School, Mill Lane
Ipplepen Primary School
Teignmouth Community School, Exeter Road
Feniton Church Of England Primary School
Shaldon Primary School
Witheridge Church Of England Primary Academy
St Andrew's Church of England Primary School
Kingsbridge Community Primary School
Holsworthy Community College
St Thomas Primary School
Alphington Primary School
Mill Water School
Decoy Primary School (partial closure)
Beaford Community Primary & Nursery School
Fairisle Junior School
St Denys Primary School
Bitterne Park School
Oasis Academy Mayfield
Portswood Primary School
St Patrick's Catholic Primary School
Maytree Nursery and Infants School
Woolston Infant School
Itchen Sixth Form College
St Mary's Primary School
St John's Primary and Nursery School
Weston Shore Infant School
Newlands Primary School
Bassett Green Primary School
Redbridge Primary School
Holy Family Catholic Primary School
Bitterne CE Primary School
Mansel Park Primary School
Bitterne Park Primary School
Sinclair Primary and Nursery School
Bitterne Manor Primary School
Sholing Junior School
Tanners Brook Primary School
Mansbridge Primary School
Shirley Infant School
Shirley Junior School
Harefield Primary School
Beechwood Junior School
Oakwood Primary School
Mount Pleasant Junior School
Regents Park Community College
Banister Primary School
Moorlands Primary School
Woodlands Community College
St George Catholic College
St Mark's School
Bevois Town Primary School
The Cedar School
St Anne's Catholic School
Nursling Church of England Primary School
Rownhams St John’s CE Primary School
Mason Moor Primary School