21 February 2022

Storm Franklin batters UK with high winds and flooding, causing rush-hour delays

21 February 2022

Storm Franklin has sparked evacuations in parts of the UK and caused widespread rush-hour travel disruption, with train operators warning customers not to travel amid gale-force winds and flooding.

A yellow wind warning that covers England, Wales and south-western Scotland is in place until 1pm, while an amber warning for Northern Ireland expired at 7am.

Winds are peaking during rush-hour, according to Greg Dewhurst, senior meteorologist at the Met Office, who added that they will begin noticeably easing around lunchtime.

Heavy showers lashing northern England and Northern Ireland are set to move south-eastwards, he said.

Storm Franklin’s highest gust of 87mph was recorded at the Needles on the Isle of Wight on Sunday evening, followed by current gusts of 79mph on a mountaintop in Wales.

“It’s still pretty strong out there and it will continue to be strong over the next few hours,” Mr Dewhurst told the PA news agency.

National Rail said the first services on most routes were cancelled, while there is a reduced timetable for Monday, alternative travel is unavailable and further disruption is expected.

Major flooding across parts of Yorkshire has blocked multiple lines and shuttered South Yorkshire’s Rotherham Central railway station until Tuesday.

Rail operator TransPennine Express told customers on Twitter: “Due to a river flooding the railway at Mexborough, trains are currently unable to operate between Doncaster, Meadowhall and Sheffield. All lines are blocked.

“This is preventing road transport in the area. Customers are advised only to travel if their journey is essential.”

In the capital, where wind gusts are up to around 40mph, London Overground services are cancelled or reduced.

Thousands of homes in the UK are still without power due to Storm Eunice, and Storm Franklin is complicating recovery efforts.

Environment agencies have issued hundreds of alerts for flooding across the UK, including two rare “severe” warnings where rainfall could also pose a “danger to life” for communities along the River Mersey in Greater Manchester.

Passengers wait at Waterloo station for cancelled or delayed trains in the aftermath of Storm Eunice on Friday (James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

This came after huge waves were seen crashing on to coastal areas, homes were destroyed by strong winds, and emergency services deployed flood defences along swelling riverbanks on Sunday.

Colossal waves have been captured engulfing Newhaven lighthouse in West Quay, East Sussex, and Porthcawl Lighthouse in Bridgend, Wales.

The River Don burst its banks in the Sprotbrough area of Doncaster in South Yorkshire on Sunday night, and police have warned people to stay away from dangerous “fast-flowing” water.

South Yorkshire Police said: “We ask people to remain away from the area of Sprotbrough Falls and Sprotbrough Lock in Doncaster, after the River Don burst its banks in this location earlier this evening.

“Many of the footpaths in this area are presently under water.

“The water is fast-flowing and poses a risk to people attempting to wade through it.

“Members of the public are being asked to remain away from the area at this time for their own safety. Thank you.”

Central Sheffield’s flood defences appear to have held, despite fears as the River Don raged through the city on Sunday night.

Last week marked the first time three named storms have been recorded within seven days since the storm-naming system began in 2015, with Dudley, Eunice and Franklin.

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