‘Gonzalo’ set to disrupt air travel


Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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Thousands of air passengers face severe travel disruption today after a glut of flights were cancelled due to high winds and heavy rain.

Heathrow staff said 10% of flights with the 20 biggest carriers into and out of the London airport will be cancelled, as the r emnants of Hurricane Gonzalo arrive in the UK.

Gusts of up to 75mph in coastal areas and 65mph inland will tear across much of the country bringing disruption to many areas, particularly to those needing to travel.

A Heathrow spokesman said: “There will be some cancellations, around 10% of flights are affected at Heathrow.

“We do not know exactly how many passengers or flights that will have an impact on.”

He said cancellations are only expected today.

Sean Penston, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said there will be gusts up to 75mph overnight.

“The area of rainy, windy weather will then move eastwards, varying in intensity across the UK, with the strongest gusts on the coasts. We can expect gusts up to 65mph in the north west this morning, and up to 50mph in central and eastern parts of England in the afternoon.”

It will remain windy this evening, but winds will gradually die down as the weather system passes.

The Met Office has issued a low level “yellow” weather warning.

A spokesman said: ” T he strongest winds are expected on Tuesday as the low pressure clears eastwards.

“There remains the potential for localised disruption to travel, especially as the strongest winds will coincide with rush hour in places.

“Fallen leaves impeding drainage increases the risk of surface water affecting roads, while some damage to trees is possible, given that many are still in full leaf.”

Hurricane Gonzalo last week caused widespread damage and a power blackout when it hit Bermuda.

The Bermuda weather service had warned residents not to go outside when the storm’s calm eye moved in, but some ventured out anyway to do quick damage assessments, noting that porches were destroyed and power lines were downed.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Argyll has arrived at the tiny British territory to assist in the relief effort if required.

The vessel is equipped with a helicopter and a number of small boats to help with reconnaissance and transport, and is also able to assist with power generation, communication and water supplies, the Ministry of Defence said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Royal Navy personnel are trained to respond to situations such as this and HMS Argyll is well resourced and ready to provide assistance to the people of Bermuda.”

Virgin Trains said that heavy rain may affect travel tomorrow.

A spokesman urged anyone planning to travel should check before setting off. Customers with tickets for today may travel on a later service or tomorrow if they prefer.

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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