Storm Pia is expected to wreak havoc across the United Kingdom, prompting authorities to issue “do not travel” advice, schools to shut down, and electricians to be on standby for potential power outages. With a yellow weather warning in effect, the nation braces itself for gusts of wind reaching speeds of 70mph to 80mph in the far north and northeast of Scotland. Alongside these extreme wind speeds, other areas such as Belfast, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Manchester are also expected to face travel chaos in the lead-up to Christmas.
Police in Northern Ireland have cautioned drivers about potential traffic disruption caused by fallen trees and debris on the roads. They urge motorists to drive slowly to minimize the impact of wind gusts and to be cautious of high-sided vehicles on exposed roads. They strongly advise considering the prevailing conditions before embarking on any journeys, emphasizing safety as a priority.
Impact on Schools and Power Cuts
The Scottish island of Shetland has decided to close its schools due to the expected severity of Storm Pia. Moreover, additional electricians are being deployed to the island to handle any power cuts that may occur. This proactive approach aims to ensure the safety and well-being of the community in the face of potential disruptions.
TransPennine Express (TPE), a prominent train company, has issued a “do not travel” advisory and advised customers to postpone their journeys in and out of Edinburgh until after 3pm due to the anticipated strong winds. TPE has implemented speed restrictions for trains running to and from the Scottish capital from the early hours of the morning, and services between Edinburgh and northwest England will not resume until the afternoon. Kathryn O’Brien, the customer experience and operations director for TPE, stresses the importance of customer and staff safety, urging travelers to plan their journeys in advance, allocate extra time, continuously check for updates, and follow the provided guidance.
Network Rail Scotland has taken precautionary measures by suspending services on several rail lines, including the West Highland Line (including routes to Oban and Mallaig), Kyle of Lochalsh Line, Far North Line, and Inverness to Inverurie service. Safety inspections are to be conducted before many services can resume, which may lead to cancellations. LNER services between Edinburgh and Newcastle are experiencing delays of up to 30 minutes due to speed restrictions. Consequently, trains to and from Inverness are not operational, with Edinburgh serving as the temporary starting or terminating point. Northern, another rail operator, warns of delays of up to 45 minutes on various lines including Leeds, Manchester Victoria, Halifax, Preston, and Carlisle. Additionally, weather-related incidents are causing further disruptions, leading to the suspension of ferry services along the west coast of Scotland, such as Western Ferries and the Corran Ferry.
Storm Pia’s arrival in the UK has prompted a series of safety precautions and disruptions. With “do not travel” advice, closed schools, and potential power cuts, authorities and service providers aim to safeguard the well-being of the public and limit the impact of this severe weather event. Travel chaos is anticipated, affecting various forms of transportation, including trains and ferry services. As Storm Pia continues to affect the country, it is crucial for individuals to prioritize their safety, stay informed about travel advisories, and remain patient during potential delays and disruptions.