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Weather warning issued for parts of UK

todayDecember 31, 2023 5

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Weather warning issued for parts of UK

Eurostar trains are set to resume this morning after “unprecedented” flooding in a tunnel brought travel chaos for thousands of people – as a severe weather warning was issued for large parts of the UK on New Year’s Eve.

Eurostar said all services would run to Paris, Brussels, London and Amsterdam on Sunday – but warned there could still be delays and packed stations.

Southeastern and Thameslink rail are also predicting serious disruption.

Weather latest: Severe winds forecast for New Year’s Eve

With New Year’s Eve celebrations hours away, the Met Office warned severe gales and heavy showers may lead to disruption.

A yellow weather warning for wind is in force from 10am until around midnight tonight.

The warning covers the south and southwest of Wales, much of the south of England, including the Isle of Wight, and the South West.

People have been told to expect gales and severe gales, with heavy showers potentially leading to disruption to road, rail, air and ferry journeys.

Bus and train journeys may also be affected and short term losses of power are possible in some areas.

Get the latest weather forecast for your area

The yellow weather warning covers parts of the south of the UK

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Pic: Met Office

In London and the south, winds are expected to strengthen, while scattered, blustery showers are expected to develop throughout the day, possibly thundery along southern coasts.

Some brighter spells are possible between showers.

Eurostar problem ‘under control’

Travellers were stranded yesterday when all Eurostar trains to and from London St Pancras were cancelled.

Many were forced to frantically arrange a last-minute flight, ferry or road journey – with some people’s holiday plans ruined.

A man in St Pancras was seen holding an iPad reading “taxi to Paris”, while images showed the track near Ebbsfleet in Kent being deluged by a burst pipe.

Thames Water said it believed it was caused by a “fire control system and not a Thames Water pipe”.

However a spokesman for HS1, which operates the track, said: “The source of the flooding will be the subject of an investigation, but at this stage we have no evidence to suggest that the fire control system was related to the issue in any way.”

Eurostar said trains would soon resume after the problem was “brought under control”, adding that it was “sorry for the inconvenience”.

“At least one tunnel can now be used”, it announced, while still warning “some speed restrictions” in the morning could cause more delays and “very busy” stations.

All Eurostar trains have been cancelled

Eurostar trains have been cancelled

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Passengers were left stranded at a packed St Pancras station in London

Southeastern rail services were also disrupted by the flooding – and the company said problems were likely to linger on Sunday with a reduced service between St Pancras and Ashford.

“Whilst service recovers, trains running between these stations may still be cancelled, delayed or revised to terminate at Ebbsfleet International,” it said.

Thameslink is also predicting “major disruption” until the early hours of 1 January – due to a “shortage of train crew”.

Services between Bedford and London, Brighton and London, and Three Bridges and London are expected to be worst hit.

There will also be no overnight services on the network for people heading back from New Year celebrations.

A spokesperson for HS1 also confirmed the Eurostar line “will be operational in the morning”.

“We understand how frustrating this has been for passengers and apologise for the inconvenience caused at such an important time of the year,” the firm added.

The Met Office said bad weather was unlikely to have been the cause of the tunnel flood as there hadn’t been any heavy rain in the area at the time.

People stand on a platform at the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord train station, as an unexpected strike by French workers at Eurotunnel, the undersea link between Britain and continental Europe, interrupted cross-Channel rail traffic, threatening the Christmas holiday plans of many travelers, in Paris, France, December 21, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

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The first Eurostar to Paris is set to leave London at 8.01am on Sunday

A tunnel flooded near Ebbsfleet

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The flood happened in the tunnel near Ebbsfleet in Kent

One of many travellers whose plans were ruined by the cancelled Eurostar trains was Matthew Hulls, 40, from Colchester.

He said he was “devastated” and had to return home after a surprise trip to Cologne for his partner was scuppered.

“My partner and I are big ice hockey fans of the local team and I’d purchased VIP tickets as a surprise for her, so (I’m) pretty devastated,” said Mr Hulls.

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It’s the second time this month that people have been left stranded due to Eurostar problems.

All services were temporarily suspended in the days before Christmas after an unexpected strike by French staff unhappy about their end-of-year bonus.

Written by: Newsroom

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