Eurostar services from London have been cancelled “until the end of the day” as heavy rain and strong winds threaten to spoil people’s new year plans.
No high-speed services are expected to run between Ebbsfleet International and London St Pancras International today because a tunnel under the Thames is flooded. The flooding was also disrupting Southeastern trains that run on the route, the operator said.
Elsewhere, speed restrictions would be put in place on the West Highland Line from 10am today until 9am tomorrow due to the adverse weather, Network Rail Scotland said.
Windy conditions were due to sweep across the UK on Saturday, according to the Met Office, and the meteorologist Alex Burkill said northern areas of Scotland were likely to see “significant snow”, with possibly 10cm to 20cm on the highest ground.
A yellow weather warning for ice across the north and north-west of Scotland was issued until 10am on Saturday. A similar warning for rain and snow was issued for much of Scotland on Saturday. It was due to remain in place from 8am until midnight on Saturday, with up to 25mm of rain forecast at lower levels.
A period of sleet and snow, turning to rain, may lead to some flooding and travel disruption.
The Met Office issued a yellow warning for rain across parts of Northern Ireland, running through to Saturday at 11am, with 15mm to 25mm of rain falling in a few hours.
Burkill said there was a deep area of low pressure out in the Atlantic waiting to sweep its way across the UK this weekend. “Towards the far east of Scotland, particularly Shetland, it is going to be a windy picture with frequent showers.”
Some frost waspossible in the south, particularly towards the east, while a more widespread harsh frost was expected in some parts of Scotland, he said. Temperatures could tumble “as low as minus 8C or minus 9C, perhaps a little bit colder than that”, he added.
Some heavy rain was likely across the west of Northern Ireland on Saturday morning before wet and windy conditions pushed east and north-eastwards.
Burkill said: “As that rain hits the cold air across Scotland, I am expecting some significant snow, particularly over higher ground we could see in excess of 10cm of snow lying and, even to lower levels, some slushy snow is possible. This could cause some problems particularly on the roads.
“Elsewhere it is the rain and the strong winds we need to watch out for. Heavy rain across parts of Wales and strong gales likely around southern, south-western coastal parts in particular – so a pretty unsettled day.”
Burkill added: “In the south it is going to be relatively mild with highs of around 11C or 12C but with the wind, the rain and the cloud it will feel pretty unpleasant at times and colder further north, with temperatures here suppressed into mid-single figures.
“Later on Saturday we are going to see the rain and the snow across Scotland, or at least the worst of it, clearing away towards the north-east and also that band of rain further south pushing eastwards across parts of England could still be pretty heavy at times – so watch out for that.”
The fresh warnings come on the heels of a windy few days due to Storm Gerrit.
A spell of strong and gusty winds was set to hit London and the south-east, the east and south-west England along with parts of Wales on Saturday, where a yellow warning for wind runs through to New Year’s Eve on Sunday at 3am.
There could be “gusts of 45mph to 50mph widely” but the strongest winds were “likely near coasts in the west and south, with 65mph to 75mph in places”, the warning said.