Storm Isha batters UK, cutting power and diverting flights
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Tens of thousands of people across the UK and Ireland were without power on Monday after Storm Isha lashed the countries with strong winds and heavy rain, disrupting travel networks.
Gusts of 99 miles per hour (159 kilometres per hour) were recorded in northeast England as the whole of United Kingdom was subject to weather warnings for its ninth named storm since September.
The high winds felled three trees and damaged several others in Northern Ireland made famous by the hit fantasy TV series “Game of Thrones”.
“This is another blow to the Dark Hedges,” said Mervyn Storey, chairman of the preservation trust at the County Antrim site, now a major tourist destination thanks to the HBO drama.
Isha follows Storm Henk, which crashed into the UK earlier this month, causing widespread flooding and disruption to train services and roads.
Climatologists say climate change is causing winters in the region to be warmer and wetter, increasing the likelihood of extreme weather events.
In Ireland, which was hit badly by Isha, at least 235,000 homes endured power cuts, according to energy provider ESB.
Another 45,000 people were without electricity in Northern Ireland, while several thousand properties went dark in northwest England and Wales.
Felled trees in Scotland closed major roads, while debris and floods forced the cancellation of all Monday morning rush-hour trains in the country.
Police said an 84-year-old man died on Sunday night when the car he was in hit a fallen tree in Grangemouth, near the Scottish capital Edinburgh.
Dozens of flights were cancelled or delayed late Sunday, with some planes diverted after they were unable to land due to high winds.
A Ryanair flight to Dublin from Manchester landed in Paris while another heading to the Irish capital from the Canary Islands was re-routed to Bordeaux after unsuccessful attempts to touch down.
Several dozen schools in the Scottish Highlands were closed on Monday as several flood warnings remained in place.
Britain’s weather agency, the Met Office, said the storm was expected to move away throughout the day.