Storm Isha Sweeps Britain With Powerful Winds, Disrupting Travel

Storm Isha Sweeps Britain With Powerful Winds, Disrupting Travel

Britain was under strong wind warnings, including a tornado watch, as a winter storm swept over the country on Sunday, bringing potential “danger to life” in some areas, the authorities said.

The Meteorological Office, Britain’s national weather service, issued a rarely used warning concerning the storm, Isha. Wind gusts between 59 and 79 miles per hour and possibly 90 m.p.h. were forecast for Sunday afternoon and Monday across Britain, including in Capel Curig in Wales and Killowen in Ireland, the weather office said.

“It is rather unusual in bringing impacts to most of the U.K.,” Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the weather service, also known as the Met Office, said.

Several parts of Britain had recorded winds in excess of 60 m.p.h. on Sunday and the strong winds were expected to continue overnight, he said.

“In part, this system has been invigorated by the cold plunge in the east of North America,” said Mr. Madge, adding that the weather pattern “has created a very strong jet, which is helping and propel areas of low pressure, such as Storm Isha, across the North Atlantic.”

Strong winds were also expected on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, and could generate conditions for possible disruptions to travel.

“Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs, could happen,” the weather office said on Sunday, adding that power outages and cellphone interruptions could result from the conditions.

“Injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties,” the Met Office said.

The yellow weather warning issued for Isha is used when people are at risk from certain weather because of their location or activity, and it advises the public “to take preventative action,” according to the meteorological office’s website.

Met Éireann, Ireland’s meteorological service, also issued amber wind warnings for Sunday and Monday, with a status red storm warning covering coastal areas in the north of the country.

The service said that the storm was bringing “very strong” and “gusty southwesterly winds countrywide with strong gales” as well as high waves along coasts.

The service also said that “a status red severe weather warning is rarely issued but when it is, people in the areas expected to be affected should take action to protect themselves and/or their properties.”

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation, which tracks severe weather, issued a tornado watch in Ireland and parts of northern Britain as the storm trekked across the region on Sunday.

The stormy weather could also cause some roads and bridges to close and affect road, train, air and ferry services, the authorities said.

Because of the weather conditions, Network Rail Scotland suspended service on Sunday and lines were to remain closed on Monday.

“Our weather specialists confirm the forecast has worsened, with a high likelihood of damage to Scotland’s Railway,” the service said on Sunday. “This decision has been made to keep passengers and our people safe.”

More than 5,600 homes were without power on Sunday evening in Britain and Wales, according to the National Grid.

The Met Office urged residents to check for loose items outside their homes, such as bins, planted pots and garden furniture, and to bring them inside or secure them in place.

While tornadoes are not unusual in Britain — about 30 are reported each year — they often land in sparsely populated areas or are short-lived and cause little to no damage.

Britain has had exceptional winter weather this season. Torrential rains that swept across parts of England this month prompted a wave of weather alerts and travel disruptions, according to forecasters and officials. Hundreds of flood alerts were also issued for various communities and rivers.


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Chriss B. Cornell

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