Is it safe to travel today? Can I drive during Storm Franklin and yellow weather warning storms - UK advice

Storm Franklin has built on the chaos caused by Storm Eunice as train passengers urged ‘not to travel’

Storm Franklin has brought further travel chaos around the UK following on from the issues caused by Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice last week.

With roads closed and trains cancelled, you may be wondering if it’s safe to travel at all today amid the yellow weather warning storm.

This is what you need to know.

Is it safe to travel?

If you’re looking to travel by train today, you should be aware that many train operators have urged passengers not to travel amid reports of lines being blocked by fallen trees and flooding caused by Storm Franklin.

On the National Rail website it states that “poor weather conditions may cause flooding, and many trees already weakened by Storm Eunice may fall down”.

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It goes on to say that a number of train operating companies have been “affected by weather related disruption” and lists the likes of Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Northern, LNER, ScotRail and West Midlands Railway.

Northern has said many of its routes are closed across the North West and Yorkshire, and added: “Our advice is not to attempt to travel as we are unable to provide alternative transport.”

Photo issued by Network Rail of Rotherham Central train station which remains closed due to flood water (Photo: PA/Network Rail)

Flooding at Rotherham station is so bad that the train tracks are not visible.

South Western Railway said Network Rail had cleared more than 50 trees from its network since Friday, but more heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday night caused “even more trees to block the lines and further damage to stations and infrastructure”.

It warned that the weather conditions were “likely to hamper efforts to help stranded customers”.

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Operators urging passengers not to travel include CrossCountry, Southeastern, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast.

Widespread emergency 50mph speed restrictions have been introduced, causing further delays to journeys.

If you had a train ticket booked for travel between Friday 18 and Monday 21 February and have been unable to travel due to disruptions from the storms, most train operators will allow you to travel instead on Tuesday 22 February.

Have roads been closed?

In the North West, stretches of two motorways were closed after incidents during the storm.

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National Highways said the M60 in Greater Manchester was closed between junctions 10 and 11 due to an overturned HGV which had come to rest on the central reservation.

The M6 was closed in Lancashire between junction 27 and 28 after an HGV hit a bridge and caught fire.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue reported saving a number of people from stranded cars on the A61 at Harewood Bridge, with more reports of roads left impassable due to flash flooding across the region.

Several major road bridges were closed on Monday morning, including the M48 Severn Bridge connecting England and Wales, and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex.

How to drive safely in a storm

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If you absolutely must travel today, then there are precautions you can take to make your journey safer.

If the road you’re travelling on is flooded, you should turn around and find a different route.

The Met Office says that “the number one cause of death during flooding is driving through flood water, so the safest advice is turn around, don’t drown”.

Even if the water appears shallow, it takes just 30cm of moving water to float your car, which could result in your vehicle being moved into deeper water.

Debris lays across Ford Lane in Northenden as water levels of the River Mersey begin to recede after Storm Franklin (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Flood water can also hide hazards which could do damage to your car, “and just an egg-cupful of water sucked into your car’s engine will lead to severe damage”.

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Other tips the Met Office has for driving in a storm includes:

  • A good rule of thumb is “if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down”
  • If possible, choose main roads as you’re less likely to be exposed to fallen branches, debris and flooding
  • Use dipped headlights if visibility is seriously reduced 
  • Roads are more slippery in wet weather - give yourself more time to react when approaching a hazard, and increase your following gap to as least four seconds from the moving traffic in front 

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