Storm Isha set to batter Britain: Met Office extends rare amber warning for 90mph winds as people warned not to travel

21 January 2024, 11:20 | Updated: 21 January 2024, 14:15

An amber weather alert is in place for most of the UK
An amber weather alert is in place for most of the UK. Picture: Alamy/Met Office

By Emma Soteriou

The Met Office has issued a rare amber warning for wind across most of the UK ahead of the arrival of Storm Isha.

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Winds of up to 90mph will swoop in later on Sunday, with flying debris potentially causing danger to life, the Met Office said.

Rail, sea and air travellers are set to face disruption, with closures, cancellations and delays expected across a number of services.

Damage to homes and buildings, falling trees, power cuts, large waves and even some flooding in places should also be expected, forecasters warned.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were nine flood warnings and 69 flood alerts in place across England.

Two 12-hour amber wind warnings are in place from 6pm on Sunday until Monday morning.

One stretches across central, eastern and western England and all of Wales, only missing London and parts of the south-east. The other covers all of Scotland and northern England and Northern Ireland.

A third amber warning will be in force until 9am on Monday across the south east.

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Strong winds and torrential rain are expected to stay around until at least the middle of next week, with yellow warnings also in place across all of the UK until Monday and in the north through to Wednesday.

Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan said: "We're expecting widespread gales to affect the UK, amber warnings are in place for large parts of the country.

"There's the potential for danger-to-life and damaging winds potentially leading to some power cuts in places, some large waves around coastal regions could bring some debris onto roads and trees could come down."

He added: "We have a wind warning in place across the whole of the UK, it's pretty unusual for the whole of the country to be under a blanket wind warning."

The Met Office has said "everybody" will be affected by the storm.

Many train lines across Scotland are set to close on Sunday night, with ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper among those stopping some services.

Meanwhile, Avanti West Coast warned against travel altogether, with trains running at reduced speed.

TransPennine Express is advising passengers not to use services between Preston and Edinburgh and Preston and Glasgow in the afternoon.

LNER has also advised against travel north of Edinburgh from the afternoon and into Monday, while Transport for Wales cancelled a number of services.

Elsewhere, East Midlands Railway said it expected "significant disruption" on Sunday and Monday and delays and alterations to services, while South Western Railway is reducing its trains in the west of England.

Air traffic control restrictions are in place too, leading to some flight cancellations.

British Airways said: "Like other airlines, we have had to make schedule adjustments due to the adverse weather conditions across the UK and Europe caused by Storm Isha.

"We've apologised to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans and our teams are working hard to get them on their way as quickly as possible."

Ferry company Wightlink has also warned of potential disruption, while the RAC warned drivers to lower their speeds and even consider delaying journeys.