England

Storm Imogen warning halts south coast and Channel Islands ferries

DFDS Seaways ferry Image copyright DFDS
Image caption Ferry services between Newhaven and Dieppe and Portsmouth and Guernsey have been cancelled

Ferry services have been cancelled because of severe weather warnings for the south and west of England as Storm Imogen approaches.

The Met Office has warned of gusts of up to 80mph in coastal areas.

High winds have meant the M48 Severn Bridge crossing between Gloucestershire and Wales has been closed to high-sided vehicles in both directions.

Highways England said there was an increased risk of lorries, caravans and motorbikes "being blown over".

The weather has already led to some ferry disruption. Some evening services have been cancelled and other services will not run on Monday.

Highways England has urged drivers of lorries, vehicles towing caravans and motorcyclists to "take extra care" and delay their journeys if the "weather becomes severe".

Drivers wishing to cross the River Severn were advised to use the M4 (Second Severn Crossing).

A spokesman previously warned speed restrictions or closures would have to be introduced if the wind speeds became too high.

The QEII Bridge in Dartford, Kent, could also be affected, they said.

"We are keeping a close eye on the situation. There is a greater likelihood that there may be restrictions on the Severn crossing."

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Media captionStorm Imogen

The Commodore Goodwill 18:30 GMT Portsmouth to Guernsey crossing and DFDS Seaways 23:30 Newhaven to Dieppe service have both been cancelled.

Sea conditions also meant one of the operator's Dover to Calais ferries was delayed earlier on Sunday. Storm Imogen warning halts ferries

The St Malo to Jersey ferry service was brought forward by three hours.

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All sailings between the Channel Islands, St Malo and the UK have been halted on Monday because of the expected stormy weather conditions.

Brittany Ferries has cancelled and delayed services between Portsmouth, Santander and Bilbao for the next few days. Crossings between Poole and Cherbourg have also been halted on Monday.

The Met Office said Storm Imogen was likely to affect the Bristol Channel area and coastal areas of Sussex and Kent between 03:00 GMT and 18:00 GMT.

A yellow warning of rain is already in place for Devon, Torbay, Somerset, north Somerset and Plymouth.

There are 35 flood warnings in place in England, including five on the River Avon in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, indicating that flooding is expected and "immediate action is required".

Fifteen racehorses had to be rescued from a champion trainer's yard in Ditcheat, Somerset, overnight after flash floods hit their stables.

Large waves are also expected to cause flooding to coastal properties in several locations in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

Image copyright Paul Nicholls
Image caption Staff at Paul Nicholls yard in Somerset lead horses away from a flash flood
Image caption Highways England said speed restrictions could be introduced on the QEII Bridge and Severn crossings if winds were very strong

'Damage to structures'

Forecaster Craig Snell said: "We have issued a broad yellow warning of wind that encompasses Cardiff, Bristol and into the Thames Estuary.

"There is an amber warning for wind mainly focused on Devon and Cornwall but stretching into central England on Monday morning.

"This means people should be prepared for disruption to travel on roads, rail, bridges and ferries and we could see possible damage to structures and downed trees risk affecting power.

"The wind will be combined with some hefty showers with some thunder along the south coast."

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