Dinner storm: two dead and thousands without electricity
- Written by James Gregory and Jeremy Cooley
- BBC News
Storm Isha left thousands of people without power in the UK after heavy rain and winds of up to 99mph.
Scotland, Northern Ireland, northwest England and Wales were badly damaged, and some in remote areas were warned of possible power outages until Tuesday.
Two people, including an 84-year-old man in Scotland, have died after the car they were traveling in crashed into a fallen tree.
From Tuesday, Storm Jocelyn will bring strong winds and rain to Northern Ireland and parts of Britain.
The next storm – the tenth since September – is expected to bring wind gusts of between 55 and 65 mph (89 and 105 km/h) across northwest Scotland.
Storm speeds are not expected to reach the highest levels seen during the peak of the Evening Prayer, which saw 99 mph (159 km/h) recorded by the Met Office at Brisley Wood in Northumberland.
Transport Scotland said a gust of 107mph (172km/h) was recorded on the Tay Bridge in Dundee. Some of the dinner winds were the strongest in the UK in 10 to 20 years.
Power outages affected about 53,000 homes at the height of the storm in Northern Ireland.
About 30,000 properties were without power across England, Wales and Scotland on Monday morning, according to the Energy Networks Association (ENA) – which represents energy providers.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government was working hard with authorities to restore electricity to homes, adding that power had been restored to nearly 300,000 properties.
ENA’s Lawrence Slade said some properties may remain without power until Tuesday, especially in remote areas.
He said it was difficult to coordinate engineer teams because the storm affected most of the UK, except for a small pocket in eastern England.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have to get the engineers out, but we can only do that when it is safe, when the winds have calmed down enough.”
He told the BBC that helicopters and drones would be deployed to help direct engineers to affected areas faster.
In the Republic of Ireland, about 235,000 homes and businesses were affected by power outages.
Meanwhile, dozens of schools were closed on Monday, mostly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Transport services largely recovered on Monday, although some roads remained closed and railway lines closed.
ScotRail, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, Thameslink and East Midlands rail services experienced disruption on Monday morning.
ScotRail said its rail services would be suspended from 19:00 GMT on Tuesday due to Storm Jocelyn, with no peak hour services on Wednesday morning.
A number of trees have been damaged and fallen at the Dark Hedges in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, made famous by the TV series Game of Thrones.
Two Met Office warnings came into effect at 18:00 GMT on Sunday, covering the whole of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and large parts of England.
A rare red warning covered an area stretching from Thurso Wick in northern Scotland, Fraserburgh and Peterhead to the east, and Cromarty and Nairn in the west.
A yellow warning for wind – the second highest level – across parts of northern Scotland will come into force at 18:00 on Tuesday, while two further yellow warnings have been issued for the rest of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and large parts of England.
Two yellow warnings for rain covering northwest England and the west coast of Scotland will also begin on Tuesday.
BBC Weather presenter Helen Willetts said: “The amazing thing about Isha is how extraordinarily widespread it is with its effects being felt across the UK.”
“After a week of little rain and instead snow, the storm brought about 50 to 100 mm of rain in wetter areas and as a result flood warnings were heightened again.
“Although the winds are not strong now, the rain, some heavy and thundery, will be accompanied by gusty winds and will continue for most of the day.”
Isha is the ninth storm of the season that began in September 2023, and Jocelyn becomes the tenth.
If two more are named between now and August, the 2023-2024 season would mark a new record.
The Met Office names storms when they are likely to cause disruption or damage. The agency says it’s easier for people to follow a storm’s progress on television, radio or social media if it has a name.
“In terms of naming storms, the UK has reached the ‘H’ earlier than in any previous season,” BBC Weather presenter Darren Pitt said.
“This season may see the highest number of storms since storm naming began in 2015. Coincidentally, that was the year that saw a record 11 storms — up to the letter K,” he said.
He added that Storm Jocelyn is likely to pass a little further north of Scotland and will not be of the same intensity.
Heavy rain this week could also lead to flooding, the weather agency said. On Monday, the Environment Agency issued 19 flood warnings, where flooding is expected, and 85 flood warnings, where flooding is likely. More than 20 flood warnings have been issued in Scotland.
The impact of climate change on storm frequency is unclear, but warming air temperatures increase the likelihood of heavy rainfall.
The world’s temperature has risen by about 1.1°C since the beginning of the industrial age.
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