The storm littered roads and railways with downed trees that created deadly hazards and blocked travel, disrupting morning commutes…reports Asian Lite News
Two motorists were killed, tens of thousands of people were left without electricity and hundreds of trains were canceled Monday after the latest winter storm lashed Britain and Ireland with heavy rain and wind gusts that topped 100 mph (160 kph).
The storm littered roads and railways with downed trees that created deadly hazards and blocked travel, disrupting morning commutes. On Sunday night, an 84-year-old male passenger in a car in Scotland and a van driver in his 60s in Northern Ireland were killed when their vehicles struck toppled trees.
The U.K.’s Met Office weather service had issued an unusual wind warning for the whole country before Storm Isha, which peaked overnight after exceeding forecasts for 90 mph (145 kph) gusts.
The Tay Road Bridge, a 1.4-mile (2.2-kilometer) span over the River Tay estuary in Scotland, recorded a 107 mph (172 kph) gust, it announced on social media. A 99 mph gust was recorded at Brizlee Wood radar station in northeastern England, the weather service said.
Ireland and the U.K. have been hammered since fall by gusty, wet storms that have knocked out power and caused flooding along river valleys. Isha is the ninth named storm since September and a 10th, named Jocelyn by the Irish forecaster Met Eireann, is due to bring more wind and rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The railway operator for Scotland halted train service Sunday night, and service was disrupted through most of Monday morning. Network Rail, which owns the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland and Wales, placed speed limits on most lines to prevent engines from running into debris, leading to delays.
Several major roads in Scotland and northern England were shut because of high winds, downed trees or overturned trucks. Chief Superintendent Davy Beck of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said many roads there remained impassable Monday morning.
In County Antrim in Northern Ireland, three trees were blown down at Dark Hedges, a roadway lined with majestic beeches that became a popular tourist destination after being featured as Kingsroad in “Game of Thrones.”
The trees are said to be about 250 years old and are approaching the end of their typical life span. Several have been toppled by other storms.
“This is another blow to the Dark Hedges,” said Mervyn Storey, chair of the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust. “In fact, one of the trees that was healthy has been blown down. It is very sad.”
In North Yorkshire in northern England, firefighters rescued several people trapped in flooded vehicles.
“It was definitely a terrifying experience at the time,” Charlie Curry told ITV news after her rescue in Morton-on-Swale.
In Huddersfield outside Leeds in Northern England, an Alpaca shed was blown into the road, the local council warned on X, formerly Twitter.
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!” the Kirklees Council said.
Planes bound for several airports were diverted, including flights bound for Dublin that ended up in France.
Power was being restored throughout Monday. At one point, about 230,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Ireland, and 40,000 lacked power in neighboring Northern Ireland.
Airlines cancelled 102 flights in and out of Dublin airport on Sunday due to a storm that was forecast to rage for the rest of the day, the airport operator said.
Storm Isha had also forced 24 aborted landings by 1700 GMT, while 27 flights opted to divert to other airports, Dublin Airport said in a post on social media platform X.
Dublin Airport said in a post on social media platform X: “Our advice to passengers flying out of @DublinAirport on Monday remains to arrive at their terminal two hours before a short-haul flight and three hours before a long-haul flight.”
“Passengers seeking to re-book cancelled flights are encouraged to do this online to avoid unnecessary queuing at airline desks in the terminals at @DublinAirport which will be extra busy,” tweeted Dublin Airport.
Ireland’s national meteorological service Met Eireann issued an orange weather warning early on Sunday for most of the country, including Dublin, meaning the winds could significantly impact people, property, and activity in an area.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport cancelled 130 flights scheduled for Monday as a preventive measure because of strong winds expected when Storm Isha reaches the Netherlands, the airport said on Sunday.
The railway operator for Scotland halted train service Sunday night and into Monday’s rush hour. Network Rail, which owns the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland, and Wales, said it was placing speed limits on most lines to prevent engines from running into fallen trees and other debris, and trains would be affected in the morning commute.