Travel disruption to continue next week with more severe weather expected in new year

Travel disruption is likely to continue next week with more severe wind and rain on the way in the new year, the Met Office has warned.

A milder New Year’s Day will provide only “a partial respite” before blustery, rainy weather returns on Tuesday, with more weather warnings expected to be issued later this week.

Craig Snell, a meteorologist at the Met Office, told i that the next weather front would “cause more disruption” to people using railways and roads.

The Met Office issued two yellow weather warnings for parts of England and Wales on Sunday. Although there are no warnings yet issued for the rest of the week, Mr Snell said: “We would expect to see more warnings issued this week.”

A milder, drier New Year’s Day in the south of the country will precede a “very wet” Tuesday in the south of England, stretching rail services that are already under pressure as people return home after the Christmas break.

On Wednesday and Thursday there will be less rainfall in some places in the south, while in Scotland colder temperatures are expected, with snow and ice forecast, which could cause further travel delays.

According to the latest weather maps, temperatures could plunge to -5C in parts of Scotland on 6 January.

The Met Office issued two yellow weather alerts for Sunday, warning that severe gales would bring heavy showers and high winds to much of the south and south-west of England and Wales – including Brighton, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bath and Cardiff – until midnight.

Winds were predicted to reach speeds of 50-55mph, with the potential for the 65-75mph mark to be hit around hill and coastal regions which may lead to thunder.

The Met Office said: “Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely.”

A second weather warning for “frequent heavy showers” is in place in north-west England, with Manchester, Burnley and Blackpool exposed to blustery conditions from 6pm on Sunday until 6am on Monday.

The yellow alert also warned of frequent showers that “may lead to some flooding and disruption to travel”.

The Environment Agency has issued more than 200 flood warnings and alerts across the UK after the River Ouse in North Yorkshire burst its banks yesterday.

It comes after travel disruption at St Pancras station on Saturday when a tunnel under the Thames led to thousands of people trying to cross the Channel being stranded. Eurostar trains have now restarted and Southeastern Railway’s high-speed service from St Pancras has also resumed after delays and disruption earlier on Sunday.

Elsewhere there were some reports of a ‘snow bomb‘ forecast for later in January. However, experts say it remains “too early to tell” if a sudden stratospheric warming event could bring snowfall and severe cold weather to the UK.

Such events can happen due to an uncommon meteorological event called Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW), and while forecast models suggest a much-weakened polar vortex over the coming weeks, it is not yet clear if this will influence the UK’s weather.

A Met Office forecaster said: “Models are indicating there could be [an SSW] on 4 or 5 January, but it’s too early to give any real details and we have to wait to see if one actually happens. If it does, then we would possibly see the effects towards the end of January.”