Do not travel, rail passengers warned as Storm Henk hits
People trying to go south of London were issued with a “do not travel” notice by operators Southern, South Western Railway, Gatwick Express and Thameslink shortly before the Tuesday evening rush hour as Storm Henk struck.
Thousands of passengers have been stranded, with few trains departing from key stations such as Waterloo, Victoria, London Bridge and Paddington amid mass cancellations and delays.
The severe disruption has been blamed on a combination of multiple fallen trees, damage to overhead wires and flooding.
It comes as Storm Henk brings 80mph winds to parts of southern England, the Midlands, East Anglia and Wales, with a Met Office yellow warning in force until 8pm on Tuesday. The forecaster warned that “flying debris” is “likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life”.[embedded content] Firefighters remove fallen trees from the A281 in Sussex A tree blown over by the wind and crashed into the portico, knocking it down in Tooting Scaffold blocks part of Creek Road Greenwich, south-east London
A resident of Hall Green in the West Midlands stepped in to help save the lives of a three-year-old child and the vehicle’s driver from floods on Tuesday after a vehicle became trapped in rising water.
They risked their own safety to reach the stranded vehicle and after helping the pair also secured the vehicle to a nearby bridge to ensure it was not swept away in the conditions.
West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, and West Midlands Ambulance Service, were all called to the scene.
Scaffolding collapsed onto a road in Greenwich, south-east London, on Tuesday, leading Creek Road to be blocked with debris.
Catherine Woodhouse, who posted a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, wrote: “Storm Henk causing chaos in Greenwich – this is the building that burned down in 2022! Creek Road is cursed.”A tree crushed a car in Bromley, Kent Emergency services rushed to Orpington following reports of a woman being injured by a fallen tree
The Metropolitan Police said a woman was taken to hospital after being struck by a falling tree in south-east London.
A spokesman for the force said: “Police were called at 3.14pm on Tuesday January 2 to reports that a woman had been struck by a tree in Station Approach, Orpington.
“Officers attended along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade.
“The woman was taken to hospital. Her injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. Her family has been informed.”
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called today at 3.21pm to reports of an incident in Station Approach, Orpington.
“We sent resources to the scene including an ambulance crew, an incident response officer and London’s Air Ambulance.
“We treated a woman before taking her to hospital.”A tree to came down onto a Mini in Barnet
Drivers have been told to expect long delays at the Dartford Crossing, with the bridge closed because of “excessively strong winds”.
In a statement on X, South Western Railway said: “We recommend that you do not travel on the South Western Railway due to the severe weather. Disruption will affect all lines on the wider network. We’re sorry for the disruption this causes.”
It has authorised customers to book their own taxis for travel across its network and claim a refund by providing their contact details, proof of ticket and a receipt for the taxi.
Southern said: “Our current advice is do not travel unless absolutely necessary.” The firm, a major operator of commuter lines, warned of 90-minute delays because of 40mph speed restrictions on the few trains managing to travel south of the capital.
Services between London Paddington and south Wales are also being diverted because of flooding between Swindon and Bristol Parkway.
Lines between Coventry and Birmingham International and between Totnes and Plymouth have been hit by flooding, and overhead lines between Watford Junction and London Euston have been damaged, causing delays for Avanti West Coast passengers.An Apache helicopter was damaged after being blown over in strong winds at Middle Wallop airfield
At Exeter Airport on Tuesday afternoon, wind speeds of 80mph were recorded for the first time since 1990, while more than 5,500 homes and businesses in Devon were without power.
Storm gusts of 87mph were recorded at Perranporth, in Cornwall, while the 1,000-year-old turret of Bickleigh Castle near Tiverton, Devon, partially collapsed as strong winds and heavy rain battered the region.
In the Midlands, firefighters used an inflatable to rescue two people from a car stuck in floodwater in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, in the early hours of Tuesday.Damage was caused to Bickleigh Castle, in Devon, by strong winds
The Met Office said: “Storm Henk will bring a spell of very strong winds, causing disruption to travel and utilities. Heavy rain falling on saturated ground is likely to cause some travel disruption.”
Travel by road, rail, air and ferry may be affected, with motorists told to drive slowly, it added.
Simon Williams, an RAC spokesman said: “As strong winds and heavy rain combine to make driving conditions treacherous, we urge motorists to lower their speeds and leave plenty of extra stopping distance.”
Homeowners should secure garden furniture and other loose objects, while power cuts may bring mobile phone coverage down, the Met Office said.
A wider yellow severe weather warning for wind covers the whole of southern England and Wales. A yellow warning for rain covers a wide area of England and Wales as further rain moved in throughout Tuesday.
Gusts of 70 to 80mph are likely on exposed coasts in the west, with gusts of 50 to 60mph expected inland.
There are 110 flood warnings and alerts in place across most of England, with the Environment Agency warning people not to drive through water.A car drives through floodwater in Godalming, Surrey
Kew Gardens, in south-west London, said it would close at 2pm on Tuesday, with the day’s Christmas at Kew event cancelled because of the weather. The Wakehurst botanic garden in Sussex also said it would be closing.
Public Health Wales told residents to “stay indoors” and only travel by car if “essential”. In a post on X, it told people to stay away from coastal areas and close windows and doors.
The weather across the UK is forecast to remain unsettled through this week, with westerly Atlantic conditions in charge.