Ciaran crashes in 104mph storm roars across Channel leaving trail of destruction... but did rail firms go over the top by issuing stay-at-home warning to commuters?
STORM Ciaran gave southern Britain a battering yesterday with hurricane force winds causing chaos.
The Met Office said the maximum windspeed recorded on the UK mainland was 78mph at Langdon Bay, Kent.
In the Channel Islands the gales reached hurricane force. Thundery showers brought hailstones the size of golf balls and properties in Jersey had their roofs blown off.
The strongest gust in Jersey was reported as 104mph and residents were told not to go outside. The high winds also hit the island’s zoo, bringing down trees and one of its elderly Chilean flamingos died.
Last night there were 81 flood warnings and 212 flood alerts in place, many of which applied to valleys and coastal areas across southern England.
A total of 127,000 homes around the south suffered power cuts. In Cornwall 38 schools were closed and in East Sussex the figure was nearly 40.
Train companies in the South had hit the panic button on Wednesday, telling commuters to stay at home yesterday.
In the event, while there were huge disruptions to coastal lines, many other parts of their networks – especially those near London – were unaffected. But thousands of workers had already heeded the advice and opted to spend the day at home instead of the office.
Network Rail said its engineers had been working ‘around the clock and in all conditions’ to remove fallen debris and repair infrastructure. Operators said warnings to passengers were partly due to the risk of suspensions.
The Meteorological Office said the storm was the deepest area of low pressure ever recorded in November – causing the very strong winds.
Ciaran comes close on the heels of Storm Babet, which brought heavy rain, flooding and the deaths of at least seven people.
On the Continent, six people were killed yesterday by falling trees, including a five-yearold, one of two people killed in Ghent, Belgium. Gusts of 128mph were reported in Brittany.