Strong winds have been causing travel disruption to parts of the country as Storm Ciara approaches.

Weather warnings have been issued for this weekend as the storm, set to be the most intense in Britain since 2013, is expected to bring 80mph winds and heavy rain – with impacts felt “across the whole of the UK” on Sunday.

The Met Office has an amber warning for wind in place for much of England and Wales from 8am until 9pm, and an amber warning for rain covering parts of Scotland, while yellow warnings cover the whole UK.

The whole of the UK is expected to be affected on Sunday. Pic: Met Office
Image: The whole of the UK is expected to be affected on Sunday. Pic: Met Office

Ciara has already made its presence felt in parts of the country, as strong winds brought down the roof of a pub and injured three people in Perth in Scotland on Saturday evening.

Police put a cordon in place around The Venue so that the damage could be assessed and nobody is said to have been seriously hurt.

Staff at the pub posted on Facebook: “Unluckily tonight our neighbouring building’s chimney breast fell through our roof causing the roof to cave in and the top front of our building to be dislodged.”

Elsewhere, Heathrow Airport said it had taken a joint decision with its airline partners to “consolidate” Sunday’s flight schedule to minimise the number of cancelled flights.

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A spokesperson added: “We regret any disruption caused and remain focused on getting passengers away safely and as quickly as possible.”

Virgin Atlantic said it has axed a number of flights, while British Airways is offering customers flexible rebooking options for customers on domestic and European flights flying to and from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airport on Sunday.

There are a number of warnings in force for this weekend
Image: There are a number of warnings in force for this weekend

Authorities have urged people to stay away from a number of beauty spots and all eight Royal Parks in London have been closed as a precautionary measure.

They include Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James’s Park.

In a statement, The Royal Parks said: “The Royal Parks are home to over 170,000 trees spread across 5,000 acres, with a significant population of ancient and veteran trees that are vulnerable to high winds.

“We will be monitoring the forecast closely over the next 24 hours and if there are any changes we will communicate these via this website and twitter account @theroyalparks.

“All parks will reopen on Monday, as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.”

A view of the Lion Gates on a misty day at Hampton Court Palace which are at the Bushey Park entrance to the palace, East Molesey, Surrey circa 1968. (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images)
Image: Bushey Park is among the eight Royal Parks which have been closed

In Scotland, several bridges were closed to lorries and other high sided vehicles on Saturday with the Erskine, Dornoch, Skye and Kessock Bridges among those affected.

There as also a 40mph limit put in place on the Queensferry Crossing.

Ferry passengers also faced disruption with many Caledonian MacBrayne services cancelled due to the weather.

Gusts of 63mph were recorded in South Uist, Tiree and Stornoway on Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters also say there could be damage to buildings and a “good chance” of power cuts.

They warned that Ciara – the third named storm of the season – will “barge her way through” the country.

Gusts of up to 50-60mph are expected this weekend – rising to 80mph along coastal areas.

Several rail firms announced they will operate reduced timetables, with strong winds having the potential to damage overhead electric wires and tracks due to debris or trees falling onto the railway.

Network Rail and train operators in England issued an alert to passengers, stating: “Only travel by train this Sunday if absolutely necessary.”

Disruption could continue into Monday morning as repair work may be hampered by the conditions and passengers are urged to check for updates before travelling.

The weather is also having an impact on events across the country.

The London Winter Run 10k event, which was due to be attended by 25,000 runners, was cancelled after organisers said they were “not able to guarantee the safety of our runners, crew and volunteers”.

Galway 2020 also said on Twitter that it was “extremely disappointed” to announce the cancellation of the finale of its opening ceremony on Saturday evening because of the warnings.

Sandbags are place the entrance to Coco Cafe Salthill, Co. Galway as the UK and Ireland brace for Storm Ciara. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday February 08, 2020. See PA story WEATHER Storm Ireland. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Image: Sandbags at the entrance to Coco Cafe Salthill, Co Galway

Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “Storm Ciara will bring damaging winds and heavy rain across the UK this weekend and we have issued a range of severe weather warnings giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm.

“Winds will increase through Saturday across Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and Wales, before turning very windy across the rest of UK through the early hours of Sunday morning.”

The Met Office has issued an amber 'danger to life' warning for Sunday as Storm Ciara batters the UK
Image: The Met Office has issued an amber ‘danger to life’ warning for Sunday as Storm Ciara batters the UK

Drivers are being warned to take extra precaution on the roads due to the potential of difficult conditions caused by heavy rain, particularly on coastal or exposed routes.

Guy Addington, regional water safety lead at the RNLI, said: “This rough weather could making visiting our coasts around the UK and Ireland treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

“If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them.

“Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.”

On Monday and Tuesday, up to four inches of snow is expected in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, with blizzard conditions forecast.

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