Strong wind damage closes rail lines and roadson October 31, 2021 at 3:22 pm

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All trains on the West Coast Main Line are suspended due to damage to overhead electrical wires.

West Coast Main Line

Image source, LNER

Strong winds and a “tornado” have brought down trees and caused travel disruption on roads and railways.

The south and east of England have been battered by wind and rain.

Gusts of over 80mph have been recorded and wind damage has caused major delays to travel out of London.

Hundreds of people, many travelling to Scotland for the COP26 climate summit, were left waiting at Euston station after fallen trees caused all trains to be suspended.

The disruption came as a result of damage to overhead electrical wires between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line.

Crowds at Euston Station

Image source, Reuters

London North Eastern Railway advised customers not to travel.

The railway firm said on Twitter: “Network Rail are on site and expect to be able to reopen the lines soon.

“Services will be very busy when they resume and will remain subject to disruption for the rest of the day.”

Fallen tree in Sywell

Image source, Sally Luke

Meteorologist Tom Morgan said the Met Office could not confirm any tornadoes but would not rule them out.

He said: “It’s not out of the question that there will have been some localised, brief funnel clouds or tornadoes.”

He added that wind speeds of 87mph (140km/h) were recorded at an exposed location on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, and there were gusts of 60mph (96km/h) across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex.

In Northamptonshire, Earl Charles Spencer said a tornado hit the park at Althorp House and the Reverend Richard Coles described a tornado hitting his church in Finedon.

BBC Look East weather presenter Dan Holley said an “isolated tornado can’t be discounted”.

He said there were gusts of 69mph (111km/h) at Wittering and multiple reports of tree damage.

“This is most likely due to straight-line winds but an isolated tornado can’t be discounted,” he added.

BBC presenter and former pop musician Mr Coles tweeted they were praying for the COP26 conference at St Mary’s Church in Finedon “when we were hit by what I can only describe as a tornado”.

He said it took out a number of trees including a yew thought to date back hundreds of years.

Earl Spencer said on Twitter dozens of trees at Althorp House were badly hit and an iron lantern was torn from the side of one of the lodge, but no animals were hurt.

Northamptonshire Police said it had received reports that trees were down in Northampton, Cogenhoe, Roade, Towcester, Castle Ashby and on the A5.

Wicksteed Park said its rides were closed due to damage caused by high winds.

Fallen tree in Corby

Image source, Hayley Reid

Fallen tree Wareham Road in Corfe Mullen

Image source, Dorset Council

Beckworth Emporium, a garden centre between Wellingborough and Northampton, said its restaurant was operating at half capacity “due to severe weather conditions and damages”.

Trees have fallen in Hampshire, Dorset, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire.

Southern West Railway has advised passengers to “only travel if essential” due to fallen trees.

Forest Lane, Ringwood, Hampshire

The Met Office issued a warning of a brief period of damaging winds as a “squally band of rain passes through Lincolnshire and the East Midlands”.

Yellow weather warnings are in place across the coasts of Wales, Devon and Cornwall, and southern parts of England.

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