Blog Articles

Remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hammer U.K.

Although the storm was no longer officially a hurricane, the remnants of what was Hurricane Gonzalo hit the U.K. hard on Oct. 21, causing a small group of both direct and indirect fatalities along with a spate of injuries, infrastructure problems, travel delays and cancelations. The power of the storm remained fierce as it worked its way across Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and the majority of England. The Weather Network reported that wind gusts hit 75 miles per hour for parts of Wales, western England and Scotland, while areas that didn't feel the brunt of the storm still faced gusts between 50 and 70 miles per hour.

The remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK hard

Wind and water
The winds themselves have caused problems for both ground transportation in the U.K. and for international and domestic flights. The secondary problems of downed trees and power lines have also caused problems for the country's transportation infrastructure. Even train travel, a relatively secure method of transportation during inclement weather, was affected in some parts of the U.K with cancelations and delays. The storm worked its way north over the course of a single day, with weather warnings and advisories remaining in place for much of that time.

There were also widespread issues with flooding and coastal tides. The Weather Network said the Norfolk coast was being closely monitored because of a mix of tidal surges and high winds. High winds also led to one of the direct fatalities, as a woman in the London area was in the path of a tree knocked over by a series of strong gusts. The path of the storm is causing a secondary problem by drawing cool air into Scotland, causing the possibility of snow above certain elevations. Although not a major concern, it's one more hazard for residents and travelers to deal with as the storm works its way across the U.K.

Travel dangers
The Daily Mail reported that one of the fatalities came as a man attempted to cross a bridge by car in the early morning hours of Oct. 21. The combination of rain and wind caused unsafe driving conditions that led to a fatal accident. Road delays were encountered along some of the U.K.'s busiest freeways, with an overturned truck causing problems on major route A1(M) in Cambridge.

The biggest problem for corporate travel coming in and out of the country was plane delays. Heathrow Airport in the London area was forced to cancel approximately 110 flights, according to the Daily Mail. There were further delays as well, as the conditions made it impossible for air travel to occur. Smaller airports in other parts of the U.K. allowed some flights in and out, but they were also operating on reduced schedules. Travel in parts of Western Europe was also expected to be affected by the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo passing through the area. The Daily Mail estimated that approximately 10,000 travelers were affected by the cancelations.


Back to Travel Risk Management | Back to All Categories