THE GREAT STORM: Southeastern warns services may not run until 10am - roundup of warnings here (From This Is Local London)
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THE GREAT STORM: Southeastern warns services may not run until 10am - roundup of warnings here
A tree that has been pulled to the ground by the wind in Park Avenue, Northfleet, this afternoon (Picture via Jimbocrouch on Twitter)
THE News Shopper area will face a battering tonight from the worst storm in years, forecasters warn.
Winds of more than 80mph could leave a trail of destruction, bringing down trees and causing widespread structural damage, leading to power cuts and transport chaos tomorrow morning.
Surface water floods could strike as the Met Office predicts 20-40mm of rain could fall within six to nine hours overnight.
However the worst of the weather is expected to hit the capital and the News Shopper area between 8am and midday tomorrow, as this Met Office map shows:
Insurance companies have advised households to take steps to protect themselves and their property.
People should also establish evacuation plans, place valuable items upstairs to limit flood damage and ensure gutters are clear so water can drain away.
The storm has been named St Jude after the patron saint of lost causes, whose feast day is tomorrow.
It will develop over the Atlantic and is expected to hit the South West late tonight, before moving north-eastwards across England and southern Wales.
Heavy rain will accompany it, with strong winds in the early hours of tomorrow, but the storm is expected to have moved out over the North Sea by lunchtime, leaving strong breezes in its wake.
Southeastern says their services may not start running until between 9am and 10am tomorrow morning if the storm blows debris onto the tracks.
A spokesman said: “The weather forecast for tonight is for severe storms.
“Strong winds and heavy rainfall can cause trees and branches to fall onto the railway lines and localised flooding.
“If the storm hits our region as predicted - then we may need to start running train services later than usual on Monday morning, likely around 9 or 10am.
“This will give Network Rail the chance to clear the tracks. “So, keep an eye on this website and check before you travel as we may need to change our train service in response to the weather conditions.”
The Thames Cable Car, which runs between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks, has been suspended for most of Sunday due to the increasing speed of the winds.
The Highways Agency is warning motorists to “think carefully” before setting off on journeys tomorrow morning.
Speed restrictions are already in place at the crossing, with the usual 50mph limit on the QE2 Bridge being reduced to 30mph.
Highways Agency crisis management coordinator Martin Hobbs said: “Drivers, especially those considering a trip with a caravan this weekend, are encouraged to think carefully before setting off as driving conditions are expected to be difficult on Sunday evening and Monday.
“If you do have to make a journey by road be prepared, plan your journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along your route.
“Be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space. In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close certain bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow signposted diversion routes.”
London Fire Brigade are asking readers to pick up loose objects from their gardens and around their homes to prevent them being swept up by the wind.
Assistant Commissioner Steve Hamm, the Brigade’s head of operational resilience, said: “Strong winds can pick up loose objects, so make sure anything that could be blown over like garden furniture is safely put away.
“Take care when out and about, as flying debris can be dangerous and cause serious injuries.
“London firefighters will be on standby ready to help anyone who might be affected.
“We will be on hand to help with any serious flooding that may happen as a result of heavy rain, and will be available should any buildings or roads be severely affected by the weather.
“Remember our crews might be very busy, so please only dial 999 if it’s an emergency.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service echoed this message.
A spokesman said: "Residents are being reminded that during a storm, the emergency services will be very busy so only call for immediate assistance if there is a risk to life or serious property or environmental damage."
Officers at the Met Police are reminding members of the public to only dial 999 if there is an emergency and to call 101 at all other times.
A Met Police spokesman said: “The Met is reminding Londoners to dial 101 when contacting police when it's not an emergency with expected increases in demand brought about by high winds in the next few days.
“Calling 999 when it is not an emergency can reduce can our effectiveness at dealing with genuine emergencies.
“Always continue to call 999 in an emergency - for example, when an immediate response is needed because a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, or someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.
“For all other matters, the public should call 101.”
And Kent Police are advising motorists to only travel tomorrow morning if it is completely necessary.
A spokesman said: "Officers are urging the public to be extra cautious when going out overnight Sunday into Monday morning following recent weather warnings about strong winds and rain.
"The latest forecasts suggest the most severe gales will sweep the county between 8am and 10am on Monday with coastal and elevated areas the most affected.
"Those planning to travel are advised to do so only if it is necessary and to be extra careful in the event of treacherous road conditions."
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