A severe weather warning for wind on Sunday has been increased from yellow to amber along the south coast as Storm Ciara approaches.
The Met Office this morning issued an amber warning for a section of the coast running from Portsmouth to Kent with the forecast for the city currently says winds with gusts of up to 66mph are expected in the early afternoon alongside heavy rain.
Speed restrictions will be in place on the Brighton mainline and Network Rail is working with train companies to mitigate the risks from landslips, fallen trees, debris and damage to overhead power lines.
UK Power Networks says it is gearing up to respond to any power cuts caused by the high winds, as falling branches and trees could damage overhead power lines.
The council says that its severe weather shelter for rough sleepers will be open on both Saturday and Sunday nights – and teams will be clearing any shingle washed up onto the promenade as a priority on Monday.
The chief forecaster says: “Widespread very strong winds will affect the region through much of Sunday.
“Gusts of 55 to 65 mph are likely widely in inland areas and 70 to 80 mph along the south coast. Heavy rain will accompany the strong winds leading to very poor driving conditions.”
Southern Rail said: “High winds and heavy rain are expected across the network bringing the risk of debris blown on the line, damage to overhead lines, fallen trees and landslips.
“Train companies are working with Network Rail to understand where the biggest risks are, and they will make efforts to mitigate as many of these as possible.
“All of the Great Northern, Gatwick Express, Southern and Thameslink network will be subject to a speed restriction of 50mph. This will mean trains run slower than normal and will be delayed arriving at their destination.
“Work will be done to ensure a robust train service will run throughout the day. However, because of the delays some cancellations may be made to help prevent the delays from spreading or getting progressively worse. Customers are advised to check before you travel.
“Additional trains will be run over much of the route in the early hours of Monday morning to try to ensure that obstructions that could affect the service are found and removed. However, there remains a risk that trains will be disrupted on Monday morning.”
A council spokesman said: “Teams are currently working in preparation for any disruption caused by the storm on Sunday and Monday.
“Cityparks always have two staff available for call out but have put extras on standby this weekend.
“We’ve contacted our seafront traders to warn of the likelihood of overtopping and big waves, and to encourage them to take proactive measures and use storm boards or sandbags where buildings are susceptible to water ingress.
“Several Seafront Officers are on duty over the weekend and will be undertaking shoreline patrols to keep the public a safe distance from the water’s edge.
“Clearance of shingle from the cycle lane and a walk way along the seafront will be a priority.”
Head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks, Ian Cameron, said: “We understand how difficult is to be without electricity, especially during cold weather, and will do our best to restore supplies quickly if they are affected.
“Keeping people safe and fixing power cuts is our priority, so if you see any damaged power lines our advice is to stay away, keep everyone clear and call us on 105.
“We ask people to make sure they are prepared at home too. We provide free extra help to people living in vulnerable circumstances, who are on our Priority Services Register.”
Details on eligibility and how to register can be found at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk
Advice for a power cut:
· Keep these numbers handy, ring 105 or 0800 3163 105 in a power cut
· Charge up your mobile phone before the weather hits, and a rechargeable mobile ‘powerbank’ if you have one
· If you see a damaged power line keep everyone clear and call 105
· Check the live power cut map on our website for updates in your area
· Locate a torch, check its working and make sure you have spare batteries. Take care if using candles
· Use a phone with a cord if you have one, cordless phones don’t work in a power cut
· Freezers remain cold for several hours without power, keep the door closed
· Dress in warm clothes
· Look out for vulnerable neighbours and call 105 if they need assistance
· See our website for advice during a power cut www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/power-cut/help-and-advice
We urge vulnerable customers to register for our Priority Services Register www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority email: email@example.com