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Severe weather alert issued as "storm of the century" hits UK
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Severe weather alert issued as "storm of the century" hits UK

Agency News

London, Feb 9: Storm Ciara, named the "storm of the century", slammed Britain on Sunday as gale winds and heavy rain triggered tornado warnings and blackouts, shut highway and grounded flights.

The Met Office issued several National Severe Weather Warnings for strong winds travelling up to 144 km per hour throughout the weekend, including an Amber warning for much of England and Wales on Sunday.

Storm Ciara also brought about heavy rains and widespread travel chaos, with passengers travelling on Sunday and Monday morning being urged to check for updates beforehand.

A major incident had been declared in Lancashire as the fire chief warned people not to travel unless "absolutely necessary" while floods ripped through towns and disrupted motorways.

Meanwhile, a severe flood warning was issued for the River Nidd in North Yorkshire. Weather warnings had been issued across the country for Sunday with huge waves crashing into the coastline and at least 35,000 homes being left without power, the English newspaper Evening Standard reported.

The M11 highway had been shut in both directions in Cambridgeshire amid fears of an airport hangar's damaged roof will be blown onto the lanes. The highway is closed at Duxford airfield, which is also home to IWM Duxford, between junctions 9 and 10. People had been urged to avoid the area, local media reported.

In other developments, Sunday's Women's Six Nations meeting between Scotland and England had been called off. BBC One went off air due to a glitch caused by the storm.

The extreme weather also saw parts of the country lashed with rain, with Wet Sleddale Reservoir in northwest England's Lake District national park recording 151.8 mm rainfall in the 24 hours up to 8 a.m. (0800GMT) Sunday -- the same amount they would receive in a month.

Travellers leaving Gatwick airport in London are facing 41 delays and one cancellation, while Heathrow has 37 flight delays and further three cancellations, according to the Sun newspaper.

"We are experiencing very high winds today and this is causing some delays and cancellations to flights. Passengers are advised to allow plenty of time to get to the airport and check the status of their flight with their airline," said the Gatwick airport on its website.

Flights were also disrupted in and out of Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool airports. (UNI-Xinhua)