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Now Thameslink tells commuters to WFH because of the weather – as Britain braces for Storm Ciaran with 90mph gales and more downpours set to batter the country


Thameslink is encouraging commuters to work from home this week as Britain braces for flooding, torrential downpours and strong winds as Storm Ciaran sweeps in with more than two inches of rain and 90mph gusts.

Eight weather warnings are in place until Friday as communities continue to clean up from devastation caused by Storm Babet just over a week ago.

The Met Office said this week would remain unsettled before a deep area of low pressure brings powerful winds and heavy rain to southern England and Wales.

Up to 2.4in (60mm) of rain is set to fall between 6pm on Wednesday and the end of Thursday, with winds gusting at up to 60mph inland and 90mph on the south coast.

Thameslink warned that while there is still ‘uncertainty’ about the impact of the wicked weather conditions, Network Rail is preparing to put speed restrictions in place which will ’cause delay and lead to changes to the train service’.

The railway service also predicted that debris and fallen trees could result in route closures and suggested that on Thursday, when high winds are forecast to hit the UK, commuters should ‘consider changing your travel plans or working from home’.

Britain braces for flooding, torrential downpours and strong winds as Storm Ciaran sweeps in with more than two inches of rain and 90mph gusts. Pictured: Waves crashing near Whitley Bay, on the North East coast of England on Monday

Britain braces for flooding, torrential downpours and strong winds as Storm Ciaran sweeps in with more than two inches of rain and 90mph gusts. Pictured: Waves crashing near Whitley Bay, on the North East coast of England on Monday

Eight weather warnings are in place until Friday. Pictured: The River Strood on Mersea Island in Essex on Monday, as the road flooded to 3ft amid the high tide

Eight weather warnings are in place until Friday. Pictured: The River Strood on Mersea Island in Essex on Monday, as the road flooded to 3ft amid the high tide

Thameslink has warned that the weather is likely to bring more disruption to rail services and instead encourages commuters to work from home this week

Thameslink has warned that the weather is likely to bring more disruption to rail services and instead encourages commuters to work from home this week

Flooded fields at Dorchester in Dorset are pictured on Monday after the River Frome burst its banks

Flooded fields at Dorchester in Dorset are pictured on Monday after the River Frome burst its banks 

The potential for flooding and transport disruption has been warned across the UK ahead of Storm Ciaran.

The Environment Agency has activated 75 flood warnings and 196 flood alerts across England, while the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has 13 warnings and 11 alerts in place. Natural Resources Wales has imposed three warnings and 17 alerts. 

Yellow weather warnings for rain have been issued by the Met Office from Monday until Thursday. 

Gusts of 80mph are possible along the south coast of England, with 20 to 25mm of rain expected across southern and western areas, but potentially up to 40 to 60mm over higher ground, the Met Office said.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for rain – the second highest level of warning available – for much of the south-eastern part of Northern Ireland.

Counties Antrim, Down and Armagh are set to be impacted by the amber rain warning, which applies from 9pm on Monday to 9am on Tuesday.

The Met Office has forecast persistent heavy rain in those counties and is warning of between 25mm and 50mm of rain in places, and up to 100mm is also possible over higher ground, with risks of possible flooding.

A stormy day on the coast at Roker in Sunderland on Monday as the waves and winds pick up

A stormy day on the coast at Roker in Sunderland on Monday as the waves and winds pick up 

A park at Christchurch Quay in Dorset is flooded after the River Stour burst on Monday

A park at Christchurch Quay in Dorset is flooded after the River Stour burst on Monday

Drivers are pictured on the M25 on Monday between Orpington and Swanley in Kent

Drivers are pictured on the M25 on Monday between Orpington and Swanley in Kent

The weather conditions are expected to cause major disruption this week, with fireworks shows among the events likely to be cancelled. 

Brighton and Hove City Council on Monday said it had axed a free display for 8,000 people in Preston Park on Wednesday due to the forecast.

Severe weather has already hit rail services, with ScotRail axing trains between Inverness and Wick on Monday. There were also no LNER trains between Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

In Cornwall, high tides and heavy rainfall flooded and blocked the Great Western Railway line between Liskeard and Looe on Monday. 

Geotechnical engineers were on scene in East Sussex on Monday after flooding and a landslip between Hastings and Ashford disrupted services.

Additionally, the Isle of Wight has no trains until at least Thursday due to flooding that left the main tunnel at Ryde underwater.

But Thameslink has now warned that more disruption is likely to come.

‘Storm Ciarán is expected to cause significant disruption to services across the Southeast on Thursday 2 November with a risk of disruption to Friday 3 Nov too,’ the railway posted on X, formerly Twitter.

‘At this point there is still some uncertainty about the impact, however, Network Rail are planning for speed restrictions to be in place across the network which will cause delay and lead to changes to the train service.’

The operator added: ‘Given the high winds that are forecast and the risk of fallen trees and debris being blown on to the tracks, some routes may have to close on Thursday so you should consider changing your travel plans or working from home on Thursday if you can. 

‘Be sure to check journey planners and station information boards closer in advance, as the weather and its effects can be unpredictable.’ 

Council workers clear debris from Marine Walk in Sunderland on Monday after high seas at Roker

Council workers clear debris from Marine Walk in Sunderland on Monday after high seas at Roker

Network Rail said on Monday it had closed the Scottish Highland line from Inverness to Wick/Thurso between Brora and Helmsdale following damage to the sea wall running alongside the railway

Network Rail said on Monday it had closed the Scottish Highland line from Inverness to Wick/Thurso between Brora and Helmsdale following damage to the sea wall running alongside the railway

Network Rail said geotechnical engineers were on scene in East Sussex on Monday after flooding and a landslip between Hastings and Ashford disrupted services

Network Rail said geotechnical engineers were on scene in East Sussex on Monday after flooding and a landslip between Hastings and Ashford disrupted services

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said on Monday that road users were ‘advised to reduce speed and drive with extra caution given today’s wet road conditions’.

Full list of Met Office warnings this week

There are eight Met Office severe weather warnings in place between now and Friday as follows:

  • Amber warning for rain covering eastern Northern Ireland from 9pm Monday until 9am Tuesday
  • Yellow warning for rain covering most of Northern Ireland from now until 12pm tomorrow
  • Yellow warning for rain covering Hampshire, Sussex and Kent from now until 10pm on Monday
  • Yellow warning for rain covering the whole of Northern Ireland from 9pm tomorrow until 9am Wednesday
  • Yellow warning for rain covering South Wales and southern England from 6pm Wednesday until 11.59pm Thursday
  • Yellow warning for wind covering South and West Wales, South West England, South East England and the east of East Anglia from 9pm Wednesday until 11.59pm Thursday
  • Yellow warning for rain covering North East England from 6am Thursday until 6am Friday
  • Yellow warning for rain covering eastern Northern Ireland from 6am Thursday until 11.59pm Thursday

The force added: ‘Persistent heavy rain has resulted in surface water and flooding of roads in many areas.’

As Storm Ciaran sweeps in, there is a yellow warning for rain for southern England and South Wales from 6pm on Wednesday until the end of Thursday.

There is also an 18-hour yellow wind warning for a similar region from 9pm on Wednesday until 11.59pm on Thursday.

Furthermore, there is a yellow rain warning for North East England from 6am on Thursday until 6am on Friday. 

Forecasters say periods of heavy rain or showers are likely to affect much of the UK from late on Wednesday, with the highest rainfall amounts expected in southern and western areas.

Up to 1in (25mm) of rain is possible ‘quite widely, and especially over high ground’, where up to 2.4in (60mm) could fall within the warning period.

The Met Office advises that the incoming rain could lead to disruption to roads and public transport, adding: ‘Fast flowing or deep floodwater is possible, causing a danger to life.’

Flooding was seen across Sussex during the weekend including the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in Hastings which was evacuated on Saturday with people posting on social media showing deep floodwater coming through the entrance. 

On Sunday, a caravan park in Bognor Regis was also underwater with the town’s Tesco supermarket car park flooded.

In Looe, Cornwall, the sea gushed into shopping streets on Saturday evening. 

‘What surprised me was the depth [of the water] – even with wellies on you couldn’t get around Looe,’ said Teresa Appleton, 61.

Down the coast in Mevagissey, a customer at the Ship Inn filmed fish swimming around his ankles as the tide lapped around the bar – although even that was not enough to slow business, according to the local coastguard.

A man walks his dog on the promenade at Browns Point on North Tyneside, as waves crash into the sea wall on Monday, damaging waterside fences

A man walks his dog on the promenade at Browns Point on North Tyneside, as waves crash into the sea wall on Monday, damaging waterside fences

A car drives through a flooded area under a railway bridge as a train passes overhead, on the A26 outside the village of Moira in Northern Ireland on Monday

A car drives through a flooded area under a railway bridge as a train passes overhead, on the A26 outside the village of Moira in Northern Ireland on Monday

High tide at Christchurch Harbour in Dorset on Monday saw many of the exclusive Mudeford beach huts far closer to the water than the owners might wish

High tide at Christchurch Harbour in Dorset on Monday saw many of the exclusive Mudeford beach huts far closer to the water than the owners might wish

Littlehampton in West Sussex was hit by a suspected tornado on Saturday night, with the roof of one house entirely ripped off.

Resident Naomi Theobold told BBC Sussex: ‘All you could see was rain and debris flying around. Our trampoline was in someone else’s garden, other neighbours’ cars were damaged and walls in front gardens came down too.’

At the opposite end of the country, businesses in Lanchester, County Durham, include the local pharmacy and a carpet shop that were counting the cost on Sunday after heavy rain overnight caused huge flooding.

Flooding was also reported from Dorset to Essex.

Marco Petagna, a Met Office meteorologist, said: ‘We’ve had various warnings in force across the UK over the last few days and there are plenty more being issued for the next couple of days.

‘The focus for heavy showers will be across parts of southern and south-eastern England, south Wales as well parts of Northern Ireland with some heavy and sudden showers as well.’ 

He said tomorrow was expected to be still unsettled but quieter before heavy winds and longer spells of rain develop on Wednesday night into Thursday as Storm Ciaran arrives. 

A couple carry suitcases as they wade past swans in high-tide floodwater at Bosham in West Sussex on Monday

A couple carry suitcases as they wade past swans in high-tide floodwater at Bosham in West Sussex on Monday

A car drives through a flooded area under a railway bridge as a train passes overhead, on the A26 outside the village of Moira in Northern Ireland on Monday

A car drives through a flooded area under a railway bridge as a train passes overhead, on the A26 outside the village of Moira in Northern Ireland on Monday

MONDAY: Met Office rain warnings are in place for Northern Ireland and South East England

MONDAY: Met Office rain warnings are in place for Northern Ireland and South East England

TOMORROW: Further Met Office weather warnings are in place for rain in Northern Ireland

TOMORROW: Further Met Office weather warnings are in place for rain in Northern Ireland

WEDNESDAY: Rain warnings in place for Northern Ireland, southern England and South Wales

WEDNESDAY: Rain warnings in place for Northern Ireland, southern England and South Wales

THURSDAY: Rain warnings and wind warnings cover multiple areas of the UK on Thursday

THURSDAY: Rain warnings and wind warnings cover multiple areas of the UK on Thursday

FRIDAY: The final weather warning in place for this week is a rain alert for North East England

FRIDAY: The final weather warning in place for this week is a rain alert for North East England

He said: ‘There are possible gusts of 80 to 90mph in some exposed southern areas. It’s probably quite a nasty storm this one.’

Kate Marks, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: ‘We urge people to stay safe on the coast and to remember to take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades.

‘Flooding of low-lying coastal roads is also possible and people must avoid driving through flood water, as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.’

She said people should check their flood risk, sign up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation on the Government website and on X.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Chris Almond said: ‘Winds associated with Storm Ciaran are likely to gust to 80mph along the south coast of England, with a small risk of somewhere exposed seeing 90mph, and winds could even gust up to 50 or 60 mph further inland.

‘This deep, low-pressure system will also bring heavy rain to much of the UK, but the heaviest rain is expected in southern and western areas with 20mm to 25mm quite widely across the region but up to 40mm to 60mm potentially over higher ground.

A stormy day on the coast at Roker in Sunderland on Monday as the waves and winds pick up

A stormy day on the coast at Roker in Sunderland on Monday as the waves and winds pick up

Damage at Seaburn seafront in Sunderland on Monday following a huge storm overnight

Damage at Seaburn seafront in Sunderland on Monday following a huge storm overnight

Council workers clear debris from Marine Walk in Sunderland on Monday after high seas at Roker

Council workers clear debris from Marine Walk in Sunderland on Monday after high seas at Roker 

Damage at Seaburn seafront in Sunderland on Monday following a huge storm overnight

Damage at Seaburn seafront in Sunderland on Monday following a huge storm overnight

‘Heavy and persistent rain will fall on to already saturated ground bringing a risk of further impacts such as flooding in areas that are already struggling to clean up from the heavy rainfall we have seen over the last week or so.’ 

Meanwhile, most ScotRail train services are beginning to return to normal on Monday following more than a week of major disruption.

David Simpson, ScotRail service delivery director, said: ‘The vast majority of services will operate as normal on Monday, and we look forward to welcoming passengers to take advantage of our off-peak all day trial.

‘Our first priority is always the safety of customers and staff, and we only run services when we are absolutely sure the lines are safe.

‘We thank customers, especially those in the north of the country, for their understanding and patience following the extreme weather.

A road sign advising drivers of flooding on the A26 outside the village of Moira in Northern Ireland on Monday

A road sign advising drivers of flooding on the A26 outside the village of Moira in Northern Ireland on Monday

A dog swims past Shoreside Cafe in high tide floodwater at Bosham in West Sussex on Monday

A dog swims past Shoreside Cafe in high tide floodwater at Bosham in West Sussex on Monday

Council workers clear debris from Marine Walk in Sunderland on Monday after high seas at Roker

Council workers clear debris from Marine Walk in Sunderland on Monday after high seas at Roker

The Riverside Caravan Centre in Bognor Regis, which has flooded after heavy rain in the area

The Riverside Caravan Centre in Bognor Regis, which has flooded after heavy rain in the area

Major flooding on the streets of Looe in Cornwall on Sunday evening following a huge high tide

Major flooding on the streets of Looe in Cornwall on Sunday evening following a huge high tide

‘Customers are advised to check before travelling by visiting the ScotRail website, app, or social media channels.’

Several roads in Aberdeenshire remained closed on Sunday due to ongoing flooding chaos.

Highland Council had to close Golspie promenade as the force of the tidal waves was so strong it washed away railings along the beachfront.

The clean-up in the wake of Storm Babet is expected to cost upwards of £500million, with the Chartered Institute of Insurers last week predicting that the bill for storm-related damage would be the highest yet.



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