Fierce Storms And Heavy Rain Batter Britain
Fierce storms have battered Britain today, with heavy rain and winds gusting up to 85mph.
The latest round of unsettled weather added more misery to the January blues as people returned to work after the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The bad weather meant some East Coast main line trains between London and Scotland had to start and terminate at Newcastle upon Tyne.
Also, buses had to replace trains on some East Coast services between London and Harrogate and Hull.
And drivers planning to use the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex were advised of possible delays due to gale-force winds.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: "As a precaution, the East Tunnel will be closed to northbound, anti-clockwise traffic from 4am with the possibility of gales affecting the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge which normally carries clockwise, southbound traffic from the M25 across the Thames."
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings across many regions of the UK.
Forecasters told those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to be prepared, while localised flooding and a marked drop in temperature was expected for parts of Wales and north-west England.
Scotland was braced for the harshest weather conditions - the Met Office has issued warnings for both snow and high winds.
Parts of Wales saw gusts of more than 90mph in the early hours, with gusts of 93mph hitting Aberdaron in North Wales.
Billy Payne, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Much of Wales and south-west England have had gusts of over 60mph this morning.
"As low pressure comes in, central and south Scotland will bear the brunt of the winds today. We will see gusts of 70mph to 80mph, even 85mph in places."
He warned of "heavy rain, stormy winds and severe gales with damaging gusts", but said the rain should clear most parts of the country by this afternoon.
Mr Payne added: "The rain will probably hang on nearer Scotland, leading to hill snow. Upland areas of the north and west may see couple of inches of rain. It will cause ponding of water on the roads."
Weather experts predicted a marked drop in temperature yesterday, with the unusually mild conditions that prevailed over Christmas and the New Year making way for more seasonal mercury readings.
Issuing a yellow warning for strong winds and heavy rain, the Met Office said: "A spell of wet and very windy weather will affect the UK during Tuesday."
People were warned of "the possibility of disruption" to travel due to strong winds this morning in most parts and during the afternoon across north-eastern Scotland.
The Met Office added: "A spell of heavy rain will also affect many regions, with a risk of localised flooding over parts of Wales and north-west England."