As the festive season’s travel rush peaks, drivers across the UK are facing a daunting journey home due to severe weather conditions. The Met Office has issued a critical advisory, warning of significant disruptions caused by intense storms, heavy rains, and strong winds, expected to last until Christmas Day morning.
This alert, impacting various parts of the country including northern Scotland, eastern and western England, and Wales, is particularly crucial as roads grapple with closures, strikes, and delays.
The yellow weather warnings, indicative of potential hazards, forecast high winds especially in Scotland’s north and parts of central and northern England. Major travel networks, including road, rail, air, and ferry services, are likely to be heavily affected, with the Met Office cautioning about possible travel disruptions, structural damages, and power outages. Even regions outside the warning zones are expected to experience intermittent showers.
Key transport hubs like London’s Heathrow Airport, Manchester’s Trafford Centre, and the Avonmouth area near Bristol are among the busiest, prompting travel organizations like the AA and the RAC to advise travelers to plan ahead and anticipate delays. The RAC projects an increase in leisure travel by car, expecting around 13.5 million journeys over the weekend, a 20% rise from last year.
Retail sectors are also gearing up for a surge in customer footfall, with predictions of this weekend being one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, as last-minute gift buyers flock to high streets.
Meanwhile, at Dover, ferry travelers experienced extended delays, for which P&O Ferries has issued apologies and assurances of accommodating passengers on subsequent sailings as soon as possible.