1. ITV Report

Storm Eleanor: Travel chaos and tens of thousands left without power as winds of up to 100mph batter UK

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Damon Green

The UK and Ireland have been left counting the cost of Storm Eleanor after winds tore a destructive trail across the country and plunged thousands of homes into darkness.

Heavy rain and ruinous gusts of up to 100mph swept across England, Wales and the island of Ireland overnight, the effects of which would be felt until Wednesday evening.

Trees caused injuries when they fell on moving cars in several separate incidents.

The collapse of a harbour wall in Portreath, Cornwall prompted the council to set up a respite centre for seafront residents if they wished to leave their homes.

It is feared there could be greater risk posed to the properties without the defence of the wall, which lost a 30ft stretch to crashing waves, once high tide arrives just after 6pm.

The partially-collapsed seawall at Portreath in Cornwall. Credit: PA

Around 20 addresses will be visited by flood co-ordinators who will offer them advice and the use of the temporary shelter.

A spokeswoman for Cornwall Council said: "It is not an evacuation, no.

"They are being given the option to go to the local church hall if they want to during the high-tide period.

"The harbour wall has collapsed and a high tide expected so it's just a precaution, really."

As the storm bore down on the UK and Ireland, tens of thousands of homes and businesses suffered power outages.

They included 55,000 properties in the Republic and 20,000 customers in Northern Ireland.

Homes across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland hit by power cuts overnight.
Waves crash against the sea wall in Aberystwyth in west Wales. Credit: PA
Homes in Scotland and England that experienced power failure.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, which provides power to 3.8 million people across northern Scotland and parts of central England, said it had restored energy to 18,000 homes since midnight.

The distributor added that 700 households were without power for more than six hours and there had been 37 high voltage faults.

About 2,500 properties between Cornwall and the Midlands were also hit by blackouts, largely due to flying debris, Western Power Distribution said.

Trees were blown down in London. Credit: ITV News

What was the major travel disruption?

  • The Severn River Crossing and the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk were closed in the early hours due to strong winds.
  • The east tunnel of the Dartford Crossing was shut in case it had to take diverted traffic.
  • Highways England said there was a possibility that the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge would have to close.
  • There were numerous reports of fallen trees blocking roads, including the M25.
  • Police forces in Cumbria, Suffolk, Norfolk and Humberside were among those to issue warnings that downed trees had blocked routes.
  • Overturned vehicles forced closures on the A1M, M6 and M5.
  • An object on the overhead lines between London Paddington and Hayes reduced services leaving the capital.
  • Power outages halted trains between Letchworth Garden City and Cambridge.
The fifth storm to hit the UK this season has caused power cuts and road disruption. Credit: PA
  • The M5 closure sparked a recovery operation to clear up the contents of a lorry left spilled on the road.
  • An object in the overhead lines between London Paddington and Hayes reduced the number of trains leaving the major hub.
  • Power outages halted rail services between Letchworth Garden City and Cambridge.
  • Many roads remain closed in Jersey due to fallen trees, stormy weather and high waves.
  • Isle of Man Police said trees were being removed roads through the night.
  • Two trampolines were blown onto train tracks near Aylesbury overnight, prompting Network Rail to ask people to secure their trampolines during windy weather.
Storm Eleanor has brought down trees across the UK. Credit: ITV News

What warnings are in place?

A yellow warning of wind was extended for all of England and Wales, most of Northern Ireland and the Scottish Borders until 7pm on Wednesday after an amber warning was put in place for the early hours.

Flooding risks could remain for coastal areas for several days, the Environment Agency has warned, as it urged people not to attempt "storm selfies".

Flood duty manager Neil Davies said: "As the unsettled weather continues, large waves combined with high tides could lead to coastal flooding over the next few days, particularly in the west and south-west of England.

The Environment Agency still had 13 flood warning issues at about 3pm on Wednesday, along with 111 flood alerts.

The Thames Barrier was being closed to protect London from flooding.

Cars were left partly submerged in heavy flooding in Galway, Ireland. Credit: PA

Drivers across the UK have been urged to take extra care and expect delays, including on motorways.

"Strong or sudden gusts of wind are more likely on open stretches of road, when passing bridges or gaps in hedges, or when overtaking high-sided vehicles," an AA spokesperson said.

How powerful was Eleanor across the UK?

The speed of gusts recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria at 1am.
The recording at Orlock Head in Northern Ireland on Tuesday evening.
The recording on the Isle of Wight at around midnight.
The recording in High Bradfield, South Yorkshire.
The recording in Northolt, north-west London.

What weather risks can the UK expect next?

Storm Eleanor is heading out into the North Sea, but strong winds will continue for much of Wednesday.

Flooding risks could also remain for coastal areas for several days, the Environment Agency has warned.

Eleanor swept in from the Atlantic as the fifth storm of the season. Credit: EBU

Neil Davies, the agency's flood duty manager, said: "As the unsettled weather continues, large waves combined with high tides could lead to coastal flooding over the next few days, particularly in the west and south-west of England.

"Our frontline teams are on the ground to check and maintain defences and support any communities affected.

"We urge people to stay safe on the coast - take extreme care on coastal paths and promenades, and don't put yourself in unnecessary danger trying to take 'storm selfies'.

"If you're travelling, please check your route before setting off and don't drive through flood water."

Who decides what storms are going to be called?

Each year, the Met Office decides on storm names in a bid to make the public more aware of approaching problematic weather.

Storms are only named if they have the potential for amber "be prepared" or red "take action" warnings to be issued.

The names of storms for the 2016-2017 season. Credit: Met Office

To remain consistent with the US National Hurricane Centre conventions, no names are given for the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z, due to a lack of names beginning with these letters.

If a storm is the remnants of a tropical storm or hurricane, then it is referred to as ex-tropical storm X or ex-hurricane Y.