Storm Barbara and rail engineering works to disrupt Christmas getaway
Ross Greenhill, the coastal operations area commander, said: “We always advise people to check the weather and tidal conditions before they set out so that they can either prepare accordingly or consider whether they should even be going out at all.”At sea, changes in tidal streams can make conditions worse, particularly if the wind and tide are against each other and tidal heights may hide underwater hazards.”It also emerged that some customers who had used Atlas Choice to book a hire car over Christmas were double-charged after the firm failed to pass payments onto suppliers. Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, added: “We are expecting gusts of around 80mph widespread within the amber warning area, up to 90mph in places.”We have had the good fortune to be able to issue the weather warnings ahead of Storm Barbara coming, with plenty of time hopefully for people to change their plans if they need to.”But the nature of the storm means it still has the potential to have an impact on power supplies, structures, and disrupt bridge and ferry crossings.”The UK Coastguard also issued its own safety warnings ahead of the weekend. There are also fears of delays on the road through a potential last-minute increase in motorists after Network Rail announced it is carrying out up to 200 improvement works, with some starting on Christmas Eve.Rail passengers will face disruption for up to 14 days, as stations including London Paddington, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo and Cannon Street are closed.Those in London, Manchester and Cardiff are expected to be the hardest hit by the works, which may cause delays as well as cancellations and diversions.Phil Hufton, Network Rail’s managing director for England and Wales, said the “vital investment” was being carried out to improve journeys and make the railway more reliable. Amber & Yellow weather warnings for #wind have been updated https://t.co/TmvTfmDfrK. Stay #weatheraware @metofficeuk pic.twitter.com/rmTN2Dsgzl— Met Office (@metoffice) December 22, 2016 Highways England said it had completed or lifted 448 miles of roadworks ahead of the Christmas period, but 164 miles were still in place. It came as the Met Office extended its yellow weather warning for wind to include the South West and Wales on Thursday and Scotland on Boxing Day. An amber “be prepared” warning remained in place for the north of Scotland, where winds are expected to get up to 90mph.Rod Dennis, the RAC’s traffic watch spokesman, said the extreme weather would “make the going tough for anyone driving on Friday especially”. Motorists are set to face chaos as the Christmas getaway begins on Friday, with rail engineering works, strikes and extreme weather all expected to disrupt travel.More than 10 million people will make journeys between now and Sunday, with 3.5 million setting off on Friday, according to the RAC.Forecasters and road experts warned of potential restrictions on bridges and disruption to ferries as heavy rain and gusts of wind “join forces”.Parts of the country also face potential structural damage and power outages as Storm Barbara – this year’s second named storm – sweeps in. It still has the potential to have an impact on power supplies, structures, and disrupt bridge and ferry crossingsGrahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office We are currently experiencing foggy conditions, which are expected to clear later this morning. (1/2)— Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) December 22, 2016 He insisted more than 95 per cent of the network would remain unaffected and “will be open for business as usual”.”There’s never a good time to impact on journeys and I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience”, he added.Meanwhile, ongoing industrial action is expected to affect Southern and Gatwick Express services, with further planned strikes by ASLEF and RMT between Dec 31 and Jan 2.There will be roadworks on the M1, M5 near Droitwich and M6 near Crewe as improvement works are carried out. Others found their booking had been cancelled or was marked as not paid for, despite having paid. Atlas Choice could not be reached for comment. Storm Barbara has been named in line with the Met Office’s alphabetical policy for the strongest weather systems and is only the second name designated this season, which began on October 1, after Storm Angus.It came after festive travel plans faced being thrown into chaos after Heathrow, Gatwick and London City Airport all experienced a raft of hold-ups due to the weather on Thursday morning.All three airports were hit by delays as thick fog shrouded the capital. A spokesman for Heathrow said some early-morning flights had been been pushed back and knock-on delays could take place throughout the day, adding that there have yet to be any cancellations. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.