05 August 2023

Storm Antoni sees gusts of 78mph as fallen trees block 100 miles of railway

05 August 2023

Storm Antoni saw 78mph winds hit the UK and trees blown down – blocking 100 miles of railway between Exeter and Penzance.

A danger to life alert had been issued for Saturday during the amber wind warning, which covered south-western areas of both England and Wales.

Severe road and rail disruption was reported in the South West, the Met Office said, and about half a month’s worth of rain fell on parts of the UK.

Meanwhile, a yellow warning for “unseasonably windy weather” was in place for southern parts of the UK and a yellow thunderstorm warning was issued for south-east England and East Anglia.

A number of people had to be evacuated from their homes in Loftus and Carlin How, North Yorkshire, due to flooding after heavy rain.

And eight people were evacuated from their homes in Clontarf, Dublin, Dublin Fire Brigade said.

Met Office meteorologist Simon Partridge said gusts of 78mph were measured at Berry Head in Devon and 43mm of rain fell in Scarborough, North Yorkshire – almost half of August’s average rainfall.

He added that Great Western Railway had warned passengers not to travel between Exeter and Penzance due to the number of trees which had fallen on the tracks and a number of roads had also been blocked in Devon and Cornwall.

“The rain is still ongoing at the moment, there’s still a fair bit of thunder and rain, particularly across northern England and East Anglia,” Mr Partridge added.

“There has been some localised flooding.

“The storm is going to clear through this evening, it will pretty much all be gone by midnight.”

The weather forced organisers of outdoor events scheduled to take place this weekend to cancel their plans.

A two-day music festival where 60,000 people were due to attend was cancelled just before the gates opened as a result of safety fears.

More than 80 artists – including Craig David, Patrick Topping, Sean Paul and Example – were set to perform at LooseFest in Newcastle.

Director of LooseFest Brian Austin said: “Shortly before the gates were due to open to the public we were advised by the safety team with the local authority in agreement, that the festival site was not safe to open.

“It was an extremely difficult decision, but the safety of every single person, from the festivalgoers to the artists, crew and everyone on site was paramount.

“It’s a heartbreaking decision, but the right one, sadly the one thing we can’t control is the weather.”

And Eliot Walker, organiser of the annual Dorset jazz festival Stompin’ On The Quomps, said he was “disappointed” he had to postpone this year’s event, which 10,000 people were expected to attend, due to Storm Antoni.

The free festival in Christchurch Quay was forced to cancel its activities for the first time in its 30-year history.

The weather is expected to improve on Sunday with a drier, brighter day, and into next week highs of mid-20s could be seen by Thursday, the forecaster added.

Better weather conditions could on the way for the middle and end of August, Mr Partridge said.

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