BRITS are braced for blizzards, eight inches of snow and 60mph gales to batter the country today after Storm Ciara left a trial of destruction.
Flights have been left grounded, thousands are without power and roads are flooded – after the “storm of the century” brought in 97mph winds.
Met Office forecasters have issued severe warnings for snow, gales and ice as Brits readied themselves for yet more travel chaos today.
Up to 20cms of snow are set to fall on Scottish Highlands by tomorrow evening, with “heavy snow showers” reaching Nottingham and Manchester today.
A weather warning today says: “Showers will turn increasingly to snow later on Monday, becoming frequent and heavy at times and lasting through Tuesday.
“Strong winds will be an additional hazard with gusts of 50-60 mph at times leading to drifting of snow over high ground.”
Yellow warnings are in place for wind, snow and ice until midday on Wednesday, as the fierce effects of Storm Ciara linger.
And 178 flood warnings are still in place across the country, with more chaos expected and temperatures predicted to plummet.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said: “While Storm Ciara is clearing away, that doesn’t mean we’re entering a quieter period of weather. It’s going to stay very unsettled.
CIARA STORMS THROUGH
“We have got colder air coming through the UK and will be feeling a real drop in temperatures, with an increased risk of snow in northern parts of the UK and likely in Scotland.
“There could be up to 20cm on Monday and Tuesday and with strong winds, blizzards aren’t out of the question.”
As of 5am, UK Power Networks reported more than 18,500 properties across the east and southeast of England still without power, while Western Power Distribution said more than 2,800 homes were in the dark.
As people were urged to avoid travelling yesterday in the strongest gusts, a small child was filmed being blown into the road.
A number of schools around the country have given pupils a long weekend as they have no power.
Rail passengers this morning have been warned to check if their trains are running before attempting to travel.
And all the UK airports have warned of delays and cancellations still today, as the country reels from the battering.
Gatwick Airport tweeted: “As we recover from storm Ciara, some flights on Monday will be subject to delays and cancellations.
“Passengers should check with their airline for the latest information on their flight.”
Parts of the M11 near Cambridge, M25 and many other smaller roads are closed due to the weather.
A month’s worth of rain was dumped in just 24 hours yesterday, with the Calder Valley dealing with a deluge again – four years after flooding devastated the area.
Floor wardens there have told people to “please stay at home”.
Hundreds of homes across Lancashire and Cumbria were evacuated after rivers burst its banks during “biblical” floods.
A 42-year-old man has gone missing amid the dangerous wind and rain over night – Robert Ling disappeared around 7pm last night in Hampshire, while wearing only his pyjamas and dressing gown.
Dozens of flights at all the UK airports were grounded, hundreds of rail passengers were stranded and ferry services were abandoned.
As more than 140 flights were cancelled yesterday and dozens of people’s travel were disrupted, one British family were stuck at Gatwick for more than 12 hours.
The 12-hour pummelling saw fallen trees flatten cars, turned a towering crane into “spaghetti” and even crumpled a football stand.
Helen Roberts, a senior meteorologist with the Met Office, said: “In terms of area, this is probably the biggest storm this century.
“I have not seen amber warnings on this scale, across all of Wales and much of England.”
Yellow warnings are in place for the North West, North East, Midlands and Yorkshire, with the worst of the severe weather expected between 3pm on Monday and midnight on Tuesday.
Ciara hit Britain on the back of a Gulf air stream travelling at 265mph, which was as fast as it had ever been, she added
Stranded families in Ramsbottom, Blackpool and Whalley were rescued from their flood-ravaged homes and cars by boat.
In Swanley, Kent a packed train crashed into a tree that toppled onto the tracks leaving passengers stranded.
And a hotel in the Scottish Borders was destroyed during ferocious winds.
Major delays and cancellations were sparked at Gatwick Airport with holidaymakers stranded for hours in the chaos.
The highest wind speed of the day was recorded at The Needles off the Isle of Wight with gusts of 97mph, the Met Office said.
The M11 was shut in both directions in Cambridgeshire amid fears an airport hangar’s damaged roof will be blown onto the lanes.
Elsewhere red “danger to life” warning for severe flooding has been issued for the River Nidd at Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire.
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The town of Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria was hit by severe flooding as the River Eden burst its banks, with residents battling to protect their homes.
Three people were injured after part of a pub roof collapsed in Perth last night and Bedfordshire police said emergency services were called to Flitwick today after a tree fell onto a car.
Manchester City’s Premier League tie with West Ham at the Etihad Stadium was among a host of sporting events postponed.
According to Torro, the UK’s tornado and storm research organisation, the wild weather could see “one or two fast-moving” tornadoes develop.
The weather bomb sparked travel chaos with nearly 200 flights in and out of Europe, as well as dozens to and from UK airports, cancelled or delayed.
Storm Ciara also disrupted Sunday’s sporting programme, as horse racing, rugby union, rugby league and football fixtures, including the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham in Manchester, were all postponed.