The UK’s travel network was hit yesterday by freezing fog, with flight cancellations, rail delays and road congestion. The worst of it lifted in the late morning, but not until the damage had already been done. However, more unpleasant weather is on the way, with forecasters warning of heavy rain. The only upside is that temperatures will be warmer.
During the heaviest period of fog on Wednesday, more than 100 flights were cancelled from Heathrow and London City airports, which affected flights to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports as well. The flight cancellations started at Heathrow on Tuesday evening, when a spokesman said that it was better to make the cancellations than take the risk of crash landings. In fog, he explained, more space has to be left between arrivals. Advance cancellations helped carriers accommodate customers on other flights.
There were several flights from London City to European cities cancelled, while many arrivals were delayed. On its Twitter page, the airport said in the early morning that visibility hadn’t improved, causing flight disruptions that were due to continue. They advised passengers to contact their airline for more information about the status of their flight.
A Glasgow Airport spokesman confirmed that three flights from London City were cancelled in the morning and two other arrivals were cancelled as well. One departure to and one arrival from Heathrow Airport were called off too, while three other departures were delayed. At Edinburgh Airport, five arrivals were cancelled, including two from Heathrow and three from London City. Additionally, one service to London City and two to Heathrow were cancelled. The airports were advising passengers to check the status of their flights with their carrier before going to the airport.
There was also plenty of disruption on the railways. Delays of up to 50 minutes were experienced during rush-hour between Luton and Bedford due to overhead wire problems. At Watford Junction, delays were caused by a broken down train. On the Northern Line, a signal failure at Woodside Park caused severe delays between Finchley Central and High Barnet. Delays on the Piccadilly Line were caused by another signal failure at Arnos Grove. There were also severe delays on the Tube’s Metropolitan Line between Amersham and Rickmansworth, while the rest of the line suffered delays from a lack of trains.
Many major roads suffered congestion as well. Part of the A1M between junctions 39 and 40 in North Yorkshire was shutdown. In Norwich city centre, road travel was disrupted by a broken down bus near Tombland. Long delays on Bull Close Road and Magdalen Road ensued, but the road did fully reopen later. Additionally, a severe car accident closed part of the A148 in East Rudham, but the road was cleared and reopened by 11am.
MeteoGroup’s Matt Dobson said that the cold spell wouldn’t last and that the fog would lift. However, a big change tonight due to an Atlantic front will make temperatures rise and stir up a lot of wet weather. The south of England is expected to get a lot of rain on Friday, and they forecast the wet weather to continue until Christmas. There could be a short spell of cold weather in the weekend before the holidays, he added.