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Storm Dennis warnings hit travel plans as attractions batten down the hatches

By Andrew Turton | News | Published:

Travel plans have been hit, markets will close and attractions face a nervous wait as Storm Dennis brings heavy rain and strong winds.

A tree fell blocking the rail line at Four Ashes in Staffordshire after Storm Ciara. Image: Network Rail

The West Midlands will be battered for the second consecutive weekend following damage caused by Storm Ciara.

Network Rail warned journeys throughout the West Midlands faced disruption and urged people to check timetables.

Last week a tree fell in high winds blocking rail lines at Four Ashes in south Staffordshire hitting services in and out of Wolverhampton,.

Motorists were also advised to take care on the M6 and M5 due to downpours through until Sunday afternoon.

Markets in Walsall, Bloxwich and Willenhall will be closed on Saturday in light of warnings issued, said Walsall Council.

Attractions have been watching the forecasts with fears the inclement weather could force them to shut.

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Cannock Tree Forest, at Cannock Chase, is among those confirmed to be closed on Saturday

Forestry England officials hope the forest will be able to reopen on Sunday once safety checks have been carried out.

Meanwhile Birches Valley junior parkrun at Cannock Chase has been cancelled.

The Follow the Dog and Monkey mountain biking trails on The Chase were damaged in the wake of Storm Ciara and closed on Monday while the fallen trees and debris are cleared.

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Dudley Zoo said officials would assess the weather conditions and would make a decision on opening by Saturday morning.

Spokeswoman Rachel Hickman said if the weather allowed then the Castle Hill attraction would open as normal.

But strong winds could force the closure of area around Dudley Castle and some animals like lions, tigers and orangutans would be kept indoors.

Black Country Living Museum said staff would monitor forecasts and post any updates online.

Barriers have already been erected in Bewdley after six flood warnings for the River Severn were issued by the Environment Agency.

There were also six flood alerts for Staffordshire.

WATCH: Latest weather forecast

Friday afternoon forecast 14/02/20

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings ahead of the arrival of Storm Dennis, covering England, on Saturday, and the entire UK on Sunday.

These include amber warnings stating that flooding could cause a danger to life, power cuts are expected and there is a good chance transport links will be impacted.

Winds of up to 70mph and severe downpours are forecast.

Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: "Storm Dennis will bring a disruptive spell of weather over the weekend, and there are warnings in place for strong winds and heavy rain.

"In parts of Devon, South Wales, northern England and a swathe of southern England - stretching from Andover eastwards - rainfall is expected to be particularly heavy and persistent, and these areas are covered by amber warnings because of the risk of flooding and other disruption."

The Environment Agency said there is a "heightened risk of flooding" across much of southern, central and northern England this weekend.

Andrew Turton

By Andrew Turton
Digital Journalist

Digital journalist based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton. Interested in breaking news and social media. Get in touch on Twitter @aturton_star or andrew.turton@expressandstar.co.uk

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