Travellers heading back home to start the new year are bracing themselves for more disruption as the aftermath of Storm Gerrit unfolds. This powerful storm battered roads and train lines across the UK, leaving behind a trail of chaos and destruction. As the country tries to recover from the worst of the weather, the impact of Storm Gerrit is still being felt in various parts of the nation.
Following the storm, yellow weather warnings for strong winds remained in effect in parts of Wales and the North West. Greater Manchester Police responded to several weather-related incidents in Stalybridge overnight, including reports of a small tornado. Meanwhile, in Scotland, the impact was even more severe, with numerous road closures and delays on the A9 due to snow and wind. Drivers and commuters faced hours of delay, and one individual even described her journey as “scary” and took 14 hours to reach home.
Railway and Air Travel Affected
The travel chaos extended beyond the roads. Train operators LNER and Avanti West Coast advised customers not to travel due to impassable routes caused by the storm. Network Rail Scotland imposed speed restrictions on rail lines due to flooding and fallen trees. Even air travel was not spared, with British Airways cancelling eighteen flights, both domestic and international, due to air traffic control restrictions. Bristol and Heathrow airports witnessed planes struggling to land, and signalling failures caused delays for passengers catching flights from Luton.
Power Cuts and Flooding
The impact of Storm Gerrit also led to widespread power outages. Over 27,000 properties in Scotland experienced power cuts, with more than half of them still without electricity at the end of Wednesday. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) warned that some areas could be affected until Friday. Additionally, flooding posed a significant threat, with trees felled and roads closed due to the deluge. Major incidents were declared in areas heavily impacted by the storm, and snowploughs were brought in to clear a path through the Highlands.
Travellers who found themselves stranded or unable to reach their destinations were advised to book hotels and claim back the costs incurred. Some pre-booked tickets were transferable to services planning to operate on Thursday and Friday. However, authorities urged travellers to stay updated and check for any changes or disruptions before they embarked on their journeys.
The Fury of Nature
Storm Gerrit left a trail of destruction across the UK—high winds, heavy rain, and snow wreaked havoc on the nation’s transport network. The Met Office recorded wind speeds of up to 86mph, causing chaos on roads, railways, and in the air. The Great Langdale Valley in the Lake District experienced a significant accumulation of rain, receiving 80mm, nearly half of the usual monthly rainfall for December.
The aftermath of Storm Gerrit continues to pose challenges for travellers trying to make their way back home after the holiday season. The impact of the storm on roads, railways, and air travel has led to delays, cancellations, and chaos across the country. Furthermore, power cuts and flooding have added to the misery experienced by individuals and communities affected by the storm. As the recovery efforts continue, it is essential for travellers to stay informed and check for updates before embarking on their journeys.