Heavy fog covered the UK yesterday morning, causing severe travel disruption at airports, train stations and on roads. What’s worse is that travel services are expected to cause disruption again this morning as the heavy fog continues to hover over the country.
At Heathrow Airport, over 120 inbound and outbound services were cancelled on Monday morning as pilots struggled with visibility issues. An airport spokeswoman said that carriers were cancelling services so that more space could be put between every landing. This is similar to the same way drivers have to ensure they keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them when there’s inclement weather. Passengers were being offered alternative services.
Gatwick Airport had to cancel a few flights to the Channel Islands as well, but a spokesperson said that, generally, the disruption had been little. They were accepting a few flights that other airports had diverted to help out. They advise passengers to check with their carrier for the most up-to-date information.
Disruption was also reported at Newcastle, London City and Stansted airports, and the fog was expected to cause more disruption in the evening, as well as this morning. London City said arriving and departing flights were experiencing delays. Passengers were advised to get in touch with their airlines for more information on the status of their flights.
Rail travellers were facing several delays as well due to a string of breakdowns and signalling issues. Greater Anglia services were delayed into Liverpool Street station, and First Capital Connect customers were affected between Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations. Norther Rail trains were affected by a breakdown between Skipton and Shipley. A signalling problem caused delays to Southeastern Trains services between Herne Hill and Beckenham Junction. The company joined Arriva Trains Wales and CrossCountry in reporting problems throughout the Wales, England and Scotland.
In Scotland, CrossCountry, ScotRail and East Coast travellers endured disruptions between Aberdour and Burntisland. While some services were changed or diverted, replacement bus services ran between Inverkeithing and Kirkcaldy. On the roads, motorists throughout Scotland were dealing with reduced visibility because the fog was so thick and didn’t clear up until midday. The M8 was the hardest hit between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
These disruptions were only the beginning of a 17-hour severe weather alert issued by the Met Office for yesterday and today in the North of England, Midlands and South. London and the south east would be getting the warmest weather during the period, up to 20ºC, while the rest of the region would enjoy just a spell of warm temperatures around the mid-teens. The Met Office also commented on the red dust falling on vehicles in the southeast with rain. It explained that the rain has carried dust from the Sahara desert, leaving a red residue on vehicles when it dries. The service warned that this could continue until the early part of the week.
The heavy fog wasn’t just affecting travel in the UK, as it was felt throughout Europe. In Poland, flights were being diverted from Warsaw airports to neighbouring cities or left waiting in queue for the fog to dissipate before they could land.