Motorists warned as strong winds hit Southern and Central England
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for fierce winds across the South and Midlands.
Motorists were warned of falling trees as well as potential traffic jams as tall vehicles must crawl at a snail’s pace over bridges and other exposed sections of road.
Forecasters warned of ‘widespread’ gale force gusts across the Black Country, East Anglia, Sussex and Devon between 10am and 6pm on Monday.
Coastal and hilly areas are expected to suffer winds of up to 65mph, strong enough to damage roofs and uproot smaller trees.
The Severn Bridge crossing linking England and Wales was closed in both directions on Monday morning, while densely wooded areas such as London’s Bushy Park have been deemed too dangerous for visitors.
Forecasters said short-term power cuts as well as delays to rail, air and ferry transport should also be expected.
Yellow warnings for snow and ice were already in place for higher parts of Scotland and will be expanded to cover much of the UK later in the day.
By 5pm, the rest of Scotland, most of northern Ireland, northern England and northern Wales are due to expect rain, sleet and snow.
Rail passengers and drivers were told delays are ‘likely’ and that ungritted roads will be hazardous due to ice patches.
Flooding is also expected on the River Nene near Peterborough, the Ouse near Bedford, the Vyrnwy in Shropshire and West Bay Habour in Dorset.
The worst of the wind is forecast to end by 6pm, while icy conditions will largely continue until 10am on Tuesday.
While the wind warning is in place, forecasters urged people to avoid unnecessary journeys, drive slowly, secure loose items outside and avoid walking close to trees and structures.