Storm batters southern Britain, disrupting flights and trains

Storm batters southern Britain, disrupting flights and trains

LONDON - Strong storm winds and rain battered southern parts of England and Wales early on Monday, forcing flight cancellations, disrupting trains and closing roads and major bridges before the start of rush-hour.

Local media dubbed the storm "St. Jude", after the patron saint of lost causes who is traditionally celebrated on Oct. 28, and made comparisons to 1987 when a storm killed 18 people in Britain and felled around 15 million trees.

London's Heathrow airport said around 20 per cent of flights would be cancelled between 0600 and 1100 GMT and told passengers to check with their airlines before travelling.

The Highways Agency, which operates the road network in England, said high winds had forced the closure of London's southbound Dartford Crossing and the M4 Severn crossing, between South Wales and England, in both directions.

Train services were also disrupted, with Network Rail, Britain's rail network operator, saying they were unlikely to get going until 9.00 a.m. (0900 GMT) in some areas.

Strong winds were forecast to continue hitting Britain's East, East Midlands, West Midlands, South East and South West and there was a risk that motorbikes and high-sided vehicles could be blown over, the agency added.

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