Britain wakes to Storm Ciaran: Commuters told to work from home

Britain wakes to Storm Ciaran: Commuters told to work from home, schools shut after ‘major incident’ declared and amber risk to life warnings in place as gales of 100mph and torrential downpours threaten to bring country to a halt

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Britons have woken up to the full force of Storm Ciaran’s chaos this morning, with commuters being told to work from home, while hundreds of schools close as a ‘major incident’ is declared.

Amber risk to life warnings have been put in place by the Met Office in some areas as hurricane-force winds of up to 100mph sweep across the country.

Torrential downpours are expected to spark flooding particularly along the south coast. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will be the worst affected, with the local fire service warning of falling trees, flooding and damage to buildings. 

The Channel Islands were confronted with the storms wrath last night, with 39 people in Jersey having to be relocated due to storm damage.

Writing on X in the early hours of this morning Jersey Police said: ‘So far tonight 29 adults, 6 children and 7 pets have been relocated in hotel accommodation due to property damage. Four people and a cat have relocated to another address and 3 people have been taken to A&E.’

The island was battered with three-inch hailstones in the early hours of this morning, following an onslaught of thunder and lightening. All flights from Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney airports have been axed today.

Schools in Hampshire, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall are among those closing today, with thousands of pupils being plunged back into remote learning. 

Elsewhere commuters have been told to not travel into their offices today, with Southern Railway warning it would unlikely be able to provide rail replacement transport.  Gatwick Express and Thameslink routes are also expected to be affected. 

LONDON: Commuters have been told to work from home today if they, as Storm Ciaran approaches the country 

LONDON: Traffic ploughs through deep surface water in Brent Cross North London this morning 

SUSSEX: Hove seafront is covered in froth from the stormy sea as people are urged to stay away from the coastline

JERSEY: Lightening strikes St Aubin’s Bay in Jersey last night, as the Channel Islands take on the brunt of the storm 

Amber risk to life warnings have been put in place by the Met Office for parts of the country as gales of up to 100mph are expected to sweep across the country

Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink railways have urged commuters to work from home where they can 

Southern Rail said: ‘If you plan to travel on routes, from or around the South Coast today, you should strongly consider whether your journey is necessary. You should work from home if you can.

‘There is a strong risk of fallen trees and debris being blown onto the tracks, with major disruption likely to the service on Thursday morning.’ 

Last night DFDS Ferries cancelled four services to and from Newhaven and Dieppe into Thursday morning. 

People are also being advised to stay away from coastal paths and promenades amid fears 35ft waves could sweep them into the sea.

The Environment Agency has put 54 flood warnings in place, with 134 in place for potential flooding. 

Ben Lukey, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: ‘Large waves and onshore gales brought by Storm Ciaran could see significant flooding along parts of the south coast and along parts of the Yorkshire and Northeast coasts on Thursday.’ 

A vehicle passes by as a rush of waves caused by Storm Ciaran is seen in the background in Penzance, Cornwall 

A vehicle gets swept up in the storm in Penzance as Storm Ciaran intensifies 

Dramatic footage shows floods sweeping through rural village Polperro, in Cornwall

A road is closed in East Sussex due to a fallen tree at Ditchling Beacon 

Storm Ciaran has arrived in Penzance, Cornwall with up to 80mph winds

READ MORE: Storm Ciaran latest: Live updates as UK braces for flooding and strong winds with red weather warning issued and Londoners urged to ‘not take risks’

Dramatic footage from last night showed a road blocked by a fallen tree in East Sussex, while aggressive waves spray cars and batter the Penzance seafront in Cornwall. 

An amber warning is in place from 3am to 11am in Cornwall and Devon – with videos of waves crashing against the coast in Cornwall being posted on social media late on Wednesday evening.

Across the south coast, the amber warning runs from 6am to 5pm, with winds expected to reach 70mph to 80mph, with the potential for 85mph and large waves.

In Jersey, a rare red wind warning was issued by the Met Office for today with people warned to stay indoors.

Northern Ireland has already seen flooding, where a yellow rain warning from the Met Office was in place until 9am on Wednesday.

A similar notice was issued for southern parts of England and Wales from 6pm on Wednesday until the end of Thursday.

A yellow warning for rain is also in place from 6am on Thursday to 6am on Friday for north-east England and Scotland, stretching up to Inverness.

People are being urged by the Environment Agency to prepare for ‘possible significant flooding’ across parts of England from Wednesday to Friday, with some significant coastal impacts also possible but not expected on Thursday.

Videos of waves crashing against the coast in Cornwall being posted on social media late on Wednesday evening

The mobile barriers at Exeter, which are part of the flood defence scheme, are being deployed and demountable and temporary barriers are already in place or ready to be installed along the River Severn.

The Kernow weather Team in Cornwall yesterday issued it second-ever severe warning for strong winds from 2am tomorrow morning until 12pm. 

The team wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘Please note we don’t issue these types of weather warnings very often, but due to the strength of the winds now feel we need to.

‘Storm Ciaran is going to be the strongest windstorm so far this season, it’ll unleash heavy rain and intense winds for most of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.’

The low pressure system sparked a red warning in the Channel Islands as locals braced for winds of up to 100mph with ferries and flights axed. Pupils in Jersey were told to stay at home amid fears of destruction rivalling the 1987 Great Storm. 

Southampton City Council advised all schools in the area to close, while three Fareham schools and another in Stubbington will also be closed among others across the south. Headteachers blamed the incoming storm for the closures.

Environment Agency workers put up flood barriers in areas such as Brighton, Exeter and West Bay in Dorset – while business owners in flood-hit parts of Northern Ireland were putting sandbags in front of properties in an attempt to minimise damage.

The Met Office warned flying debris and flooding will bring a ‘danger to life’ while the storm could also cause ‘structural damage’ to buildings, with roofs potentially blown off, power lines and trees brought down, travel disruption and power cuts.

The Met Office said that the south coast could be battered by gusts on 70 to 80mph, while wind speeds could exceed 85mph in some exposed areas. 

A man clears out damaged property in Newry Town, Co Down, which has been swamped by floodwater

A DFDS ferry leaves the Port of Dover in Kent as bad weather sweeps in ahead of Storm Ciarán

Sandbags are brought in to protect a pub in the centre of Newry in Northern Ireland today

The owner of a bar begins clearing up the aftermath of Storm Ciaran in Newry Town, Co Down, which has been swamped by floodwater as the city’s canal burst its banks amid heavy rainfall

Environment Agency workers deploy temporary flood defences at Exeter Quay in Devon today

The Environment agency have deployed flood defences for the first time on the historic Exeter Quay

Flood defenses surround the Custom House Visitor Centre in New Quay

Walkers and cyclists get caught out in torrential rain in Cambridge city centre this afternoon 

School closures in Hampshire:  

Compass School

Fairisle Junior School

St Denys Primary School

Bitterne Park School

Oasis Academy Mayfield

Portswood Primary School

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School

Cantell School

Maytree Nursery and Infants School

Woolston Infant School

Itchen Sixth Form College

St Mary’s Primary School

St John’s Primary and Nursery School

Weston Shore Infant School

Newlands Primary School

Bassett Green Primary School

Redbridge Primary School

Holy Family Catholic Primary School

Bitterne CE Primary School

Mansel Park Primary School

Bitterne Park Primary School

Sinclair Primary and Nursery School

Bitterne Manor Primary School

Sholing Junior School

Tanners Brook Primary School

Mansbridge Primary School

Shirley Infant School

Shirley Junior School

Harefield Primary School

Beechwood Junior School

Oakwood Primary School

Mount Pleasant Junior School

Regents Park Community College

Banister Primary School

Weston Secondary

Moorlands Primary School

Springwell School

Woodlands Community College

St George Catholic College

St Mark’s School

Bevois Town Primary School

The Cedar School

St Anne’s Catholic School

Nursling Church of England Primary School

Rownhams St John’s CE Primary School

Mason Moor Primary School

Vermont School

Springhill Catholic Primary School

Hope Community School 

Valentine Primary School 

St Francis Special School

Baycroft School 

St Jude’s Catholic Primary School 

Wallisdean Infant School

The Romsey School

Rownhams St John’s Church of England Primary School

Valentine Primary School 

Shirley Warren Primary & Nursery School 

Some parts of Wales and southwest England may also see 80mm of rain, which will bring a risk of flooding. 

Heavy showers started pushing into parts of Cornwall and Devon yesterday evening, with the Met Office advising drivers to take caution on the roads. 

Southampton City Council has advised all schools in the area to close, with over 50 confirmed to be shutting their doors today so far and more expected to follow suit. 

A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: ‘In anticipation of the severe weather expected as a result of Storm Ciarán, we are advising schools in the city to close in order to ensure the safety of staff, pupils and parents.’ 

St Francis Special School, St Jude’s Catholic Primary School and Wallisdean Infant School, all in Fareham are set to close while Baycroft School in Stubbington will also remain shut on Thursday. 

Kiln Park caravan park in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, has already suffered flooding with its residents asked to leave following warnings that floods will bring a ‘danger to life’. 

A huge 60,000 tonne cruise ship en route from Portsmouth to Madeira was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Falmouth in Cornwall yesterday to seek shelter from the incoming destruction.

The Spirit of Adventure, which is the equivalent of 22 London buses long, had been due to make the trip as part of its ‘Sunshine in the Canaries’ cruise. It was built in 2020, promises comfort and private balconies as standard. 

Brittany Ferries has also cancelled sailings through the Bay of Biscay yesterday and today, while all DFDS English Channel crossings have also been axed over the same period. 

Some ferry services between Newhaven and Dieppe have also been cancelled. 

Rail operators warning of disruption include Gatwick Express, Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern, CrossCountry, South Western Railway and Great Western Railway.

Great Western Railway told passengers ‘not to travel’ in Cornwall from 8pm tonight, where the weather is likely to be so bad that even bus replacement services are being cancelled.

Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Southeastern all urged people to work from home. Southeastern said it was ‘highly likely that very early morning trains on our mainline routes will be cancelled’, and speed restrictions were expected to be imposed.

Coach operator National Express has also warned of disruption on some routes due to Storm Ciaran potentially causing poor road conditions over the next few days.

Ryanair warned flights to and from Ireland could be impacted, while easyJet said the storm has the ‘potential to cause some delays and disruption to flights’.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, west London announced last night that it will be closed today ‘to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors’. RHS Wisley, near Woking, will also be closed tomorrow due to the weather warning for high winds. 

More than 150 UK flood alerts or warnings were in place yesterday amid fears over rain falling on already-saturated ground – including 24 warnings and 112 alerts in England; one warning and 13 alerts in Wales; and one warning and eight alerts in Scotland.

Ciaran is a ‘weather bomb’, a term for a low pressure system whose central pressure falls 24 millibars(mb) in 24 hours in a process officially called explosive cyclogenesis.

The storm had a pressure of 981mb this morning, and this is set to fall to 954mb by midnight – a drop of 27mb in less than 24 hours. BBC forecaster Simon King said Ciaran ‘could be one of the most intense November storms to hit the UK’.

Cars driving through flood water near Whitley Bay, on the North East coast of England today

The Cove House Inn Pub in Portland, Dorset, boards up its windows ahead of Storm Ciaran 

Kiln Park caravan park in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, has already suffered flooding with its residents asked to leave following warnings that floods will bring a ‘danger to life’

Natural Resources Wales said the caravan park has already suffered flooding and the owners have asked guests to leave the site

Waves crash onto Brighton seafront by the pier as strong winds batter the South Coast

Flood defences have been deployed on the historic Exeter Quay today, a first for local business owners

An Environment Agency team installs temporary flood barriers at West Bay in Dorset today

Residents and shop owners have erected sandbag blockades as part of defences against Storm Ciaran on the Isle of Wight

Residents and shop owners have put out sandbags to protect them from Storm Ciaran, which is due to his the south later tonight

Meanwhile, thousands of properties in Hampshire lost power yesterday morning, with homes, shops, offices and schools plunged into darkness.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said ‘about 16,000 addresses in North Baddesley, Wellow and parts of Romsey were among those affected’.

Met Office warnings

There are five separate Met Office weather warnings in place this week.


  • Yellow wind warning for southern England and South Wales – 9pm today until 11.59pm tomorrow
  • Yellow rain warning for southern and western England and Wales – 6pm today until 11.59pm tomorrow
  • Amber wind warning for South West England – 3am tomorrow until 11am tomorrow 
  • Amber wind warning for South East England – 6am tomorrow until 5pm tomorrow 
  • Yellow rain warning for North East England and eastern Scotland6am tomorrow until 6am Friday

Reports of power cuts started coming in shortly before 8am yesterday and postcodes in SO51, SO52 and SO16 were hit.

SSEN said it was working to find the cause and that most customers had power restored within an hour. It is not yet clear if the cause is linked to Storm Ciaran, although the Met Office has warned of potential power cuts this week. 

The mobile barriers at Exeter, which are part of the flood defence scheme, are being deployed and demountable and temporary barriers are already in place or ready to be installed along the River Severn.

The Environment Agency had issued 24 flood warnings for England by 11am on Wednesday morning, with 116 flood alerts.

In Jersey, BBC Breakfast reporter Robert Hall said: ‘Red warning is a pretty serious state of affairs. A lot of people here like in the UK remember the Great Storm of ’87. 

‘The local Met Office is saying right across the Channel Islands that this could be pretty well as bad as that.

‘And that’s very dangerous for the environment for people who live here. If you imagine Storm Ciaran as an arrow coming up the Channel, the Channel Islands are right in the middle of the head of that arrow with the strongest winds.’

Children were sent home from Mountbatten School in Romsey which has been left with no water or electricity, as parents reported seeing buses taking children back home as a result. 

In Northern Ireland, some 12,000 sandbags have been deployed as areas are hit with flooding. An estimated 80 businesses in Newry are counting the cost after the city’s canal burst its banks on Monday night, submerging sections under water.

The city’s courthouse has been temporarily closed with business moved to Craigavon.

The department of justice said the measure was to allow for remedial works to take place and to make sure the staff and public are kept safe.

‘Court business will return to Newry Courthouse as soon as possible,’ they added.

Roads and some train services have been disrupted in counties Down, Antrim and Armagh amid rising waters. 

Waves crash against the shore in Teignmouth, Devon, as Storm Ciaran begins to hit the UK

A driver makes their way along a waterlogged country lane at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A DFDS ferry leaves the Port of Dover in Kent as strong winds sweep in from the south

There were crashing waves in Teignmouth, Devon, this morning due to the storm

A view of debris and flood water in Sugar Island as the clear up begins in Newry Town, Co Down in Northern Ireland

Public transport authority Translink said the Bangor train line will remain closed until further notice. 

The Department for Infrastructure said it remained on high alert through last night. 

It received almost 800 calls to its flooding incident line, and has distributed more than 12,000 sandbags to the areas worst affected.

A spokesperson said river and lough levels continue to be monitored as levels rise and will continue be monitored over the coming days.

‘People are urged to stay away from flood defences, flooded areas and watercourses,’ they added.

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Brent Walker, said: ‘Wind and rain warnings associated with Storm Ciarán are in force from tonight through until Friday, with further updates possible. 

‘These include Amber warnings for wind for parts of southwest England on Thursday morning and the far south and southeast of England Thursday daytime and early evening.

‘Very strong winds are expected along southern coastal areas of England in particular, where gusts of 70 to 80mph are possible, perhaps exceeding 85 mph in a few exposed locations. Further inland, gusts could reach up to 50 or 60mph.

‘As well as strong winds, there will be heavy rain across many parts of the UK. Much of southern and western England, Wales, northeast England and eastern Scotland look to see the wettest conditions between Wednesday evening and Friday morning. 

’20-30 mm of rain is likely to fall quite widely, with 40-60 mm possible over higher ground. Some parts of Wales and southwest England may see 80 mm of rain. This rain will fall on already saturated ground, bringing the risk of flooding.’

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