Storm Aileen: Commuters braced for travel disruption

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Media captionStorm Aileen will move out eastwards into the North Sea on Wednesday

Commuters are being warned to expect rush hour chaos as Storm Aileen brings strong winds to parts of the UK.

Aileen, the first named storm this season, left thousands without power overnight.

The Met Office said gusts of almost 75mph hit Mumbles Head in Wales, with southern parts of northern England and the north Midlands also badly affected.

Highways England warns of an increased risk to drivers of lorries, caravans and motorbikes being blown over.

It also advised people to take extra care and considered delaying their journey if the weather becomes more severe.

Overnight, more than 800 homes were without power in Nottinghamshire, and a further 700 homes in Lincolnshire were also affected.

Power cuts were also reported in parts of Wales and south-west England.

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Drivers in Grays, Essex, had to rethink their route

Police forces in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Gloucestershire have all reported trees being blown over by the winds during the night.

Rail commuters are facing slower journeys and cancellations.

On its website, National Rail said falling trees and large branches, power cuts and debris blown onto the tracks were causing problems.

Affected services include Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways, East Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia, London Midland, Merseyrail, Northern, South Western Railway, Southern and TransPennine Express.

Network Rail is expected to impose speed restrictions on some services.

The Met Office said there was no connection between high winds in the UK and the recent extreme weather in the Caribbean and the US.

The UK’s weather system is coming from the north, in the Atlantic, the Met Office added.

The warning for strong winds is in place until 10:00 BST, with heavy rain likely to fall until midday.

The Environment Agency has issued two flood warnings – for Keswick and for part of the Somerset coast, with 15 further alerts for areas where flooding “is possible”.

Met Office chief forecaster Frank Saunders said: “The low pressure system that is bringing these strong winds will move fairly swiftly from west to east over the UK.

“Although there will still be some disruption through Wednesday morning, the winds will ease by the afternoon leaving a day of blustery showers.”

Storm Aileen is the first storm to be given a name since they were announced for the 2017/18 season.

Other names on the list include Dylan, Octavia, Rebecca and Simon.

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