UK

Dozens of flood warnings in place after Storm Ciaran chaos

Storm Ciaran brought high winds and heavy rain along the south coast of England (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Storm Ciaran brought high winds and heavy rain along the south coast of England (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The threat of flooding remains high in the south of England as the UK feels the after-effects of the devastating Storm Ciaran.

Some 80 flood warnings are in place with more than 220 flood alerts stretching up through the country, after the south coast and the Channel Islands were battered with heavy rain and gusts of up to 100mph on Thursday.

The extreme weather looks set to bring downpours and strong winds to Scotland and parts of northern England on Friday.

Nearly 150,000 homes were left without power and by 4pm on Thursday, around 11,300 properties still had no electricity.

Some 135,700 had been reconnected, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) said.

A spokesperson said: “By working together in very challenging conditions, so far today network operators have reconnected 92% of customers affected by storm-related power cuts.

“While difficult conditions remain, with violent winds forecast until the end of the day, teams from across the country are working together to continue to reconnect customers where it is safe to do so.”

A Met Office yellow weather warning is in place in eastern Scotland, with the threat of difficult driving conditions, flooding and delays or cancellations to train and bus services, and a small chance of fast flowing or deep floodwater.

Autumn weather November 2nd 2023
Waves crash around the lighthouse on the harbour arm in Folkestone, Kent on Thursday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Floods minister Rebecca Pow said potential flooding risks remained across the UK with river levels still high, large waves at the coast and saturated ground.

All schools on Jersey remain closed, with islanders urged to stay at home on Friday,

Schools in Guernsey and Alderney are opening as normal except for the College of Further Education, which has suffered significant water damage.

Guernsey locals are no longer being asked to stay indoors, but have been told to take extra precautions when travelling because of the state of the roads.

Pondhu Primary School in St Austell, Cornwall, will be shut on Friday due to extensive flooding, with the school saying it needs time to “dry and clean the building so the children can return safely”.

Damage to properties in Jersey meant some residents had to evacuate their homes and seek refuge in a hotel, with one woman saying hailstones “bigger than a golf ball” had broken her windows.

The Met Office described the Channel Islands as having endured “supercell thunderstorms”, where locals faced frequent lightning, large hailstones and a possible hurricane.

Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: “Hopefully the worst of it is now easing at it moves away.

“Ciaran is moving into the North Sea. It’s weakening. It is filling but it’s still bringing quite a blustery wind to many places.”

Longer spells of rain will continue across the north east of Scotland and parts of the Pennines later on Friday, but it will be a quieter picture further south compared with Thursday, Mr McGivern said.

Autumn weather November 2nd 2023
Flooded fields in Barnham, West Sussex (Joe Sene/PA)

Over the weekend, the north west will see showers, as will the north east of Scotland.

A Met Office yellow warning has been issued for south-east England, including Portsmouth and Brighton, for Saturday afternoon and evening, with heavy rain and gusty winds expected to cause travel disruption and possible flooding.

The AA, which had a large number of callouts in southern England, said it had “rescued 84 customers stuck in flood so far today, with thousands more impacted by the weather”.

Jersey Airport is closed to commercial flights, with Ports of Jersey saying engineers had discovered extensive infrastructure and equipment damage and system failures caused by the storm.

An attempt to reopen the airport is expected at 2pm on Friday. Meanwhile, it is still operating for emergencies and medical transfers.

In Dorset, firefighters evacuated 70 people from 198 caravans at Freshwater Holiday Park in Burton Bradstock, near Bradport, with some being taken to dry land by boat.