Heavy storms disrupt travel in the UK

Travel across the UK was disrupted on Monday after a heavy storm swept across the south of the country, according to news reports.

All major airports reported delays and cancellations, while train services were cancelled and ferry services affected.

Heathrow cancelled one fifth of its flights as winds of up to 90 miles per hour were recorded, and several more departures were cancelled at Gatwick Airport.

EasyJet had warned passengers that there could be disruption to flights on Monday and that no trains would run to Gatwick, Southend, Stansted or Luton airports before 09:00 GMT. Eurostar said it would not be running trains on Monday until 07:00 GMT, with early services from London and Brussels subject to delays.

Network Rail justified its decision to shut down several services across southern England ahead of the hurricane. ‘There is no way we can run trains in hurricane force winds, to do so would put lives at risk,’ a Network Rail spokesman said.

‘There is no way you can safely run a train if there is a likelihood of a tree falling in its path at any time,’ he added. By 7am Network Rail had already cleared 50 trees from the track, mainly in the Wessex area, it said.

South West Trains and Virgin West Coast advised people not to travel on Monday, particularly on services on the southern end of the West Coast Main Line. Most services were not running until at least 11:00 in order to allow Network Rail to check lines.

Several ferry companies also cancelled services, including some English Channel and Irish Sea crossings.

The Environment Agency has issued 12 flood warnings – in southwest and southeast England, there are also 131 flood alerts across England and Wales, The Telegraph noted.

Isaac ruins travel plans

Travel and tourism have been badly affected throughout south Florida in recent days because of tropical storm, Isaac.

Tourists and travellers were stranded at airports and ports after flights and cruise ships were cancelled due to bad weather. However, it is expected that travel will resume from Tuesday after the storm started to abate and show signs of moving on.

Stranded passengers from all over the world had no choice but to sit and wait for the storm to pass after learning that their flights could be delayed for two to three days. Weather forecasts suggest that while air and sea travel in south Florida could return to normal by Tuesday, cities along the nation’s northern Gulf will continue to suffer weather-related restrictions.

On Monday, local travellers were left stranded after 158 flights were cancelled and 117 delayed at Miami-Dade. About a dozen flights were cancelled and 30 delayed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Port Miami had been closed until Monday afternoon and some cruise ships were delayed. Cruise passengers had to stay on their ships for longer than expected and had to join the queues to search for temporary lodging or to change flight plans after landing. Some cruise lines offered compensation to clients for the delay in reaching port.

Hundreds of flights to New Orleans are due to be cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For their part, air carriers are mostly allowing customers to change their flights without penalty, even though some conditions apply. Most firms are waiving change fees and some are not charging for the difference in rebooked fares.

Holidaymakers Searching for Holidays in UK

Despite many British travellers flocking to warmer climates to escape the UK’s prolonged run of bad weather, there has also been a reported increase in the number of searches being made for UK holiday cottages.

Independent Cottages, an online holiday cottage directory in theUK, has reported an 18 percent rise in online searches during June 2012, when compared to the same period in 2011.

Steve Jarvis, the managing director of Independent Cottages, said, ‘Given how awful the weather has been I would have expected traffic to drop not increase.’

Another survey by the same company also indicates a rise in the percentage of people holidaying inside the UK, mostly due to the affordability of the holidays on offer, with holiday cottages considered to be quality accommodation at reasonable prices.

However, holidaying in London during the 2012 Olympic Games may prove to be expensive, as suggested by a recent survey conducted by M&S Money. The study highlighted that a beach holiday abroad is more financially viable than staying in London during the first week of the 2012 Games, with a saving of around 25 percent.

Jane Lawson, the head of travel money at M&S Money, said, ‘Staycations are clearly popular this year, particularly as people look forward to celebrating the Jubilee and Olympics, in what will be a British summer to remember. However, with the cost of activities and eating out in theUKrelatively high, and favourable foreign exchange rates helping to make your money go further abroad, a holiday at home is not always the most affordable option.

To get the most from your holiday budget, no matter what the destination, it’s important to plan ahead. As well as looking for good deals on travel and accommodation, thinking about exchange rates, local costs and the kind of extras you will need to spend your money on will help to ensure you have the best possible holiday experience.’

 

Rain Forces British Holidaymakers To Consider Sunnier Climes

With the passing of the UK’s wettest June since 1910, but still no sign of the deluge abating, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agent association, has reported a 20 percent increase in outbound travel searches in the UK, as British travellers desperately search for sunnier options.

ABTA has reported that an estimated 13 million UK holidaymakers have plans to go abroad in July and August, 2012, with 90 percent of them heading for destinations in the Mediterranean. With a strong pound, having increased in value by 10 percent against the Euro in last year, and cheaper prices due to the Eurozone crisis, countries like Spain, Greece, and Italy remain the favourite destinations for UK travellers.

Victoria Bacon, the head of communications at ABTA, said, ‘The UK is a beautiful country with exceptional holiday appeal but the weather this year has been setting records for all the wrong reasons and it is no surprise that millions of us are looking to head off overseas for more reliable weather and high temperatures.

British holidaymakers will also get a pleasant surprise in their favourite Eurozone destinations with the pound 10 percent stronger than last year. It’s important that people book sooner rather than later as late offers are proving popular.’

Lydia Dearden, the director of destination at Thomas Cook, said, ‘We Brits are known for being preoccupied with the weather, but 2012 has been dismal and with it showing no signs of improving we’re seeing a lot of interest from people looking to escape to sunnier shores.

We have less holidays available than we did this time last year, which we believe is partly down to the poor weather, and with many of us still hankering for some heat, our advice to those holding out for a last minute deal is to book sooner rather than later to ensure they have the widest choice and can secure the right holiday.’

What a difference a week makes…

Last week saw new temperature records being set in Scotland with 23.6 °C recorded at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire on Tuesday.

In contrast, the temperature this Tuesday will be some 20 degrees colder with snow on the ground.

Over parts of Scotland, especially the north, significant snowfall could bring some travel disruption during the first half of the week, with 2-5 cm of snow expected in many areas and at least 15 cm for the higher parts of the Grampian mountains.

The hills of northern England will also see some snow on Tuesday but further south across England and Wales, we will mainly see rain which may turn to snow for a time over the hills of the Chilterns, Cotswolds, Salisbury Plain and the Downs.

Martin Young, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, said: “Spring is a season of contrasts and it’s certainly not unusual to see snow at this time of year. However, this week’s wintry snap will be short-lived, with temperatures returning to normal as we head towards the Easter weekend.

“We can expect to see some hard night frosts by the middle of the week with temperatures down to between -4 and -6 °C in many places, with impacts for gardeners and growers.”

Keith Brown, Transport Minister for Scotland, said: “Coming so soon after last week’s extremely mild temperatures the key is to guard against complacency. The Met Office advises that temperatures could be 15-20 degrees colder in some places than they were at the same time last week. Therefore the public should continue to check travel bulletins or the  Traffic Scotland website for the latest advice.”

Temperatures are expected to rise again later in the week and should be around normal again as we head into the Easter weekend.

The Heat Rises: Good News for Tourism and Hotels, Scotland

The March heat wave sweeping the UK has given Scotland its hottest Spring day since 1965. Reaching 23.6C in Aboyne on the 28th, the heat wave has lasted three days so far and is set to continue. Beach goers flocked to the Scottish coast yesterday and the parks and gardens of Glasgow, St Andrews and throughout Fife. Spring holiday makers have received a pleasant surprise over the past week as Scotland wide is revelling in the sunshine as though it were the peak of summer. Holiday makers are taking advantage of the many hotels in Scotland and enjoying the famous scenery.

Scotland has hit the headlines several times in March for its good weather, contrary to a common belief on the continent that the weather there, and across most of the UK, is cold and unaccommodating either side of summer. In fact, Scotland has been warmer than Majorca, Barcelona and Nice this week. Many Scottish holiday makers who travelled to Europe in search of the sun have actually experienced colder climates than they would have done in their own back garden. In a strange turn of events, Scotland was thus one of the hottest places to be on holiday in Europe.

With the Easter holidays just around the corner, it is hoped that the good weather will continue as many English families head to Scotland for their Easter break instead of forking-out for a foreign trip.

At the same time, Scotland, along with the rest of Europe, has seen a drop in hotel room prices. The change comes as the economy struggles to recover after the recent recession, and reflects the fact that people are more reluctant to make big spends on foreign holidays.

The drop in prices, though, could see more people booking last minute summer breaks, and Scotland could see an influx of tourists this summer as people look for fun and adventure closer to home. Scotland has an enduring reputation as the best place to go in the UK for adventure and activity holidays, with sports such as mountain biking and kayaking perfectly suited to the Highlands and lochs.

World class golf, particularly in St Andrews, also lures tourists looking for a luxury break, with opulent 5 star hotels priding themselves on tradition and heritage that is exclusively Scottish. Live performances have also become an important factor in the Scottish tourist industry, with Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world, attracting more and more visitors every summer.

So, Scottish hoteliers and outdoor adventure centres will be hoping to see the unusually hot weather continue over Easter, and into the summer. With so many reasons to spend a UK break in Scotland, it will be interesting to see how its tourist receipts and international visitors increase this year.

Stormy weather hits UK

Severe weather warnings issued across UK.

Warnings have been given to many parts of Britain and Ireland by the Met Office.

Gail force winds hit the UK over night and in Scotland warnings for snow and winds of up to 100mph.

Wales has also been hit by winds and torrential rain, with a number of roads blocked by blown down trees.

Travel in Northern Ireland has seen disruption with warnings of storm-force winds of up to 90mph.

The conditions lead to a number of East Coast main line trains between London and Scotland had to begin and end in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Flooding and a dramatic drop in temperature are expected in many parts of Wales and north-west England. 


Wintry and unsettled weather for Christmas weekend

There is increasing confidence that an Atlantic storm will now move along the south coast of England, bringing the risk of snow to Wales, the Midlands and parts of southern and southeast England from the early hours of Friday morning.

The snow is likely to accumulate even at low levels for a time with the risk of up to 10 cm lying over higher ground on Friday.

Heavy rain will also feature across the south of the UK as the storm passes through, bringing a risk of surface water flooding, with winds of up to 60 mph in the far southeast overnight into Friday.

However, there is still a small chance that the low will move further north, with the risk of strong winds affecting a larger area of the south of England.

Colder than average temperatures will then carry on through Friday and the weekend, continuing the risk of icy conditions.

Andy Page, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, said: “Snow, heavy rain and strong winds are all expected to affect parts of the UK over the next day or so, bringing hazardous conditions at times.

“We’re working closely with government agencies and the resilience community to keep them up to date with the latest information. We’d advise the public to regularly check our latest forecasts and warnings to stay up-to-date with the situation.”

Jason Glasson, the Highways Agency’s National Winter & Severe Weather Team Leader, said: “I advise drivers to plan ahead before setting out tomorrow morning. Check the Met Office weather forecast and  road conditions and allow extra time if travel conditions are poor or delay the journey if conditions are really severe.”

Hurricane Katia sets a course for Britain

Strong winds and huge waves forecast for Britain as hurricane Katia threatens to hit land today.

 

The hurricane looks set to bring winds of 80mph and sea swells reaching 15 metres battering the UK with torrential ran expected to strike many parts of the country.

 

The hurricanes path changed direction, heading away from the USA and towards the UK across the Atlantic.

 

The hurricane is likely to hit the Northern Isles, the north and north-west Scotland – bringing hammering rain and brutal winds.

 

The blustery conditions are likely to be seen by the rest of the country as well

 

Many areas will see winds of 50mph, these guest sof wind will also cause large waves and swell of up to nine metres.

 

The last hurricane to hit the UK was Hurricane Charley, which hit in August 1986.

 

Weathermen say, however, that the path of the storm could alter and even the tiniest deviation could see it ignore the UK completely or hit the whole country with some force.

 

It could even deteriorate rapidly, but even then it will still be very blustery with lots of rain.

High cost of living pushes younger adults to emigrate

Younger adults consider moving abroad due to rising cost of living, while over 55s cite bad weather, it has been revealed.

Almost a third of the UK public (32 per cent) would consider relocating abroad due to the rising cost in living, a survey has found. The study, conducted by Bishop’s Move the UK’s largest privately owned removals company, also found that the when it comes to motives for moving abroad, a significant proportion of younger adults are feeling the pinch of increasing living costs and would leave the country for this reason. However, those 55 or over – the baby boomer generation – are more likely to cite the country’s bad weather for emigrating abroad.

As unemployment rates soar and financial problems mount due to rising inflation, the research, conducted amongst 1000 respondents, reveals that a significant percentage of the future UK workforce will consider leaving the country behind.

Thirty-six per cent of those aged between 25-34 and 32 per cent of those aged 25-44 will consider emigrating and starting a new life and career abroad due to escalating basic living costs.

However, when it came to the older generation, just 24 per cent of those surveyed aged 55 or over would blame rising costs as the reason they’d leave these shores, despite recent research from SAGA which revealed living costs had risen more sharply for those below retirement age than what is commonly believed.

Other results from the survey revealed 10 per cent of the UK public will consider leaving due a lack of trust in the current Government and nine per cent would leave due to anti-social behaviour issues.

Bishop’s Move comments on the findings: “A lot has been made about how the current high costs of living are affecting the baby boomer generation and impacting their retirement plans, however it seems it is younger adults who are actually willing to leave the UK behind for this reason. Let’s not forget many are just finishing their education, many more hope to start a career, and some are struggling to get onto the UK workforce.

“If the Government goes ahead with its five pence-a-litre fuel rise in April, that will be two price hikes in four months along with the VAT increase. It’s of little wonder that some people are feeling doubtful about their futures on these shores. If the Government isn’t careful, we could lose a generation seeking a more financially stable life abroad.”