Storm Isha batters UK and Ireland and leaves thousands without power

Storm Isha wreaks havoc in UK and Ireland, leaving thousands powerless
Storm Isha wreaks havoc in UK and Ireland, leaving thousands powerless
Storm Isha wreaks havoc in UK and Ireland, leaving thousands powerless

London | Tens of thousands of people were without electricity and hundreds of trains were cancelled on Monday after the latest in a wave of winter storms lashed Britain and Ireland with heavy rain and wind gusts of almost 100 miles (160 kilometres) an hour.

The UK's Met Office weather service had issued an unusual blanket wind warning for the whole country before Storm Isha, which reached its peak overnight. A 99-mile-an-hour gust was recorded at Brizlee Wood radar station in northeastern England.

Ireland and the UK have been hammered since fall by a series of gusty and wet storms that have toppled trees, knocked out power and led to flooding along river valleys. Isha is the ninth named storm since September.

The railway operator for Scotland halted train service Sunday night and into Monday's rush hour. Network Rail, which owns the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland and Wales, said it was placing speed limits on most lines to prevent engines from running into fallen trees and other debris, and trains would be affected into the morning commute.

Several major roads in Scotland and northern England were shut because of wind, fallen trees or overturned trucks. Chief Superintendent Davy Beck of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said many roads across that region remained impassable on Monday morning.

“There is also a continued risk of significant debris on the road network as wind speeds remain high throughout Monday,” he said.

Planes bound for several airports were diverted — including a flight from the Canary Islands to Dublin that ended up in Bordeaux, France.

Some 230,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in Ireland, and 40,000 lacked power in neighbouring Northern Ireland.

The Met Office said the storm was expected to “gradually pull away” through Monday, though it would remain windy.

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