As Storm Dudley battered the UK and Ireland with winds of more than 80mph, over 14,000 people suffered power outages while uprooted trees created chaos on roads and train lines, reports reveal. All trains in Scotland were cancelled and many lines will remain suspended on Thursday morning while safety checks are carried out, ScotRail said.
Northern Powergrid, which maintains electricity networks across northern England, said on Wednesday evening that it had reconnected 10,000 homes within hours, but it could not say when 4,000 more would have power restored.
In a statement, the company said: “We have started to see some disruption and the peak is still ahead of us, so we are remaining on full alert.”
Storm Dudley will move away early on Thursday – but more severe weather is on the way with Storm Eunice set to hit southern Scotland and the rest of the UK on Friday.
BBC Weather said Eunice will be “quite a potent storm” with widespread gusts of up to 70mph, occasionally reaching 100mph in England and Wales.
Storm Dudley triggered a Met Office amber wind warning, indicating potential risk to life and property, in northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland until 6am on Thursday.
On Wednesday, winds hit 81mph in Capel Curig in North Wales, while Emley Moor in West Yorkshire recorded 74mph.
These conditions are expected to continue into Friday with Storm Eunice which could be even more damaging, with stronger winds than Dudley, heavy snow and possible blizzard conditions.
Another amber warning has been issued for then, with the potential for stronger winds, and predictions that gusts could top 90mph in the South West and South Wales.
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Forecasters say gales could reach up to 100mph in coastal regions and the Environment Agency has warned of the risk of flooding in southern England on Friday.
In England, the Environment Agency had two flood warnings in place as of Wednesday night at Keswick Campsite and along the Cumbrian coastline from St Bees Head to Millom, along the coast from North Head to Haverigg, and 42 flood alerts, where flooding is possible.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued one flood warning from Ayr to Troon, with five other flood alerts and one flood warning.
Train journeys in Scotland were stopped from 16:00 on Wednesday and ScotRail warned disruption on some lines would continue throughout Thursday.
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The operator has been working with Network Rail to deal with wind damage to power supplies.
It said it had received reports of trees on the line, damage to overhead wires and signalling faults.
A ScotRail tweet read: “Teams will be working through the night to get services back up and running as quickly as possible, but disruption is expected to continue into the morning.
“We won’t be able to restore services until we know routes are safe.”
Storm Dudley is the fourth storm to hit Scotland since November.
Last month alone, storms Malik and Corrie caused power cuts for 118,000 homes in Scotland and 80,000 in northern England.