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Trees down and Dudley Zoo forced to shut as high winds hit region

Wolverhampton | Transport | Published:

Trains were disrupted and attractions closed down as Storm Ali battered the region today.

An uprooted tree in Wensleydale Road, Great Barr. Photo: Gavin Holyman

The storm's high winds felled trees in Willenhall, Stafford, Wolverhampton and Great Barr, as well as in gardens, car parks and train lines across the West Midlands.

Road and rail travellers faced disruption across the Black Country and Staffordshire as a result, with trains between Stourbridge and Stratford-upon-Avon cancelled for around an hour due to a tree blocking the line in Dorridge early in the afternoon.

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A fallen tree on Coltham Road in Willenhall. Photo: Stuart Cattell
A fallen tree just off Bloxwich High Street.

Weston Road in Stafford was closed near Staffordshire Police HQ as a result of a large fallen tree, while large trees were also uprooted in Wensleydale Road in Great Barr, Coltham Road in Willenhall and just off Bloxwich High Street. And Wolverhampton Council warned people to avoid Mountford Lane car park in Bilston after reports of a fallen tree there.

Meanwhile Dudley Zoo, Shugborough Hall near Stafford and Trentham Gardens in north Staffordshire all closed for the day as a result of the fierce weather.

Warning

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The storm arrived in the West Midlands hours after a woman died in Ireland when the caravan she was in was blown off a cliff.

The Met Office has now updated its amber wind warning to say there is a high likelihood of impacts, as well as extending the area it covers - but not yet to the West Midlands.

The amber warning, which covers Northern Ireland, northern parts of England and southern Scotland, will also now remain in place until 6pm on Wednesday, forecasters said.

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A less severe yellow weather warning has been issued for the West Midlands from 6pm on Thursday until 9am on Friday.

The Met Office said debris could lead to injuries or pose a danger to life, while damage to buildings and travel disruption is likely.

Across the UK

Ireland and Scotland have suffered the most from the storm, with gusts of up 92mph recorded and around 20,000 homes and businesses left without power - mainly in the south-west of Ireland.

Traffic Scotland said the Forth Road Bridge is closed to all vehicles and pedestrians.

ScotRail said the storm was causing disruption to services, tweeting: "We've got a tree blocking tracks at #DumbartonCentral which has damaged overhead wires, and also reports of overhead wire damage at #Partick. We'll provide an update as soon as we can."

Dublin Airport said the storm would have an impact on its schedule and warned of cancellations.

A fallen tree in Dublin on Wednesday

Gale-force gusts began to be recorded on the Galway coast as heavy rain moved in.

Forecasters in Ireland issued a Status Orange wind warning for more than half the country due to the storm.

Photos posted on social media showed trees down in Galway, while Dublin Fire Brigade posted about falling trees damaging cars, with one photo showing a smashed windscreen.

A tree blocking the road in Weston Road, Stafford. Photo: @Tactical_Police

The worst of Ali's weather is forecast to be in the north, although areas outside the official weather warnings are unlikely to escape wet and windy conditions.

Although southern parts of England and Wales could reach continued unseasonable highs of up to 24C (75F), it will feel cooler due to the strong winds, Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said.

The unsettled weather is due to last right through the week, but an improvement is expected early next week as drier weather is set to take hold.

Ali is first on the storm names list for 2018-19 announced by the Met Office and Met Eireann, which has run the Name Our Storms scheme for four years.

The season's names have been compiled from a list of submissions by the public, choosing some of the most popular names and also selecting those which reflect the nations, culture and diversity of the UK and Ireland.

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