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Belfast deluged by a month of rain as UK airports hit by storm disruption



More than a month’s-worth of rain fell at Belfast Airport on Saturday afternoon as severe weather caused disruption for travellers across the UK.

The Met Office said Belfast Airport had received an “incredible 88.2mm” when the average for July is 81.2mm.

Most arrivals and departures suffered serious delays – some by as much as eight hours in the case of a Ryanair service to Gdansk.

The deluge led to flooding in parts of Northern Ireland and a warning that power cuts were likely.

An amber weather warning was issued for all counties except Fermanagh, with rain and thunder easing from the south in the late afternoon.

Stansted Airport in Essex also had problems as Friday’s rain and thunderstorms combined with air traffic control staff shortages.

More than a dozen flights were cancelled.

:: Sky News latest weather forecast

Delays at Stansted have caused chaos on Saturday morning


Stansted passenger: ‘It is complete chaos’

Tom Happold, who was travelling with his wife and two children, missed his flight despite arriving early and told Sky News the airport had been “complete chaos”.

He added: “There’s a lack of staff both from the airport and the airlines.

“Nobody knows where they’re going, where they’re queuing, people are getting to the front of the queues and then finding the flight is shut, which is what happened to us.”

The airport said after “a number” of cancellations on Friday evening due to the weather, Saturday’s flights were operating but there could be knock-on effects.

A statement said: “The earlier queues in the terminal [on Saturday] were predominately at airline ticket desks with passengers who decided not to go home but stay and try and re-book after their flights were cancelled the previous evening.”

NATS, the UK air traffic control service, said that thunderstorms can cause delays because they “effectively block large swathes of airspace because aircraft cannot fly through them”.

A holidaymaker walks his dog amongst stationary traffic as vehicles queue for Eurotunnel which is experiencing long delays due to extreme weather conditions on July 28, 2018 in Folkestone
Long queues continued at the Eurotunnel in Folkestone

Other airports, including Gatwick, Birmingham and Luton, have also experienced delays and cancellations.

Meanwhile, Eurotunnel disruption rumbled on for a third day in Folkestone, with delays of four hours reported after an air-conditioning failure led to a shortage of trains.

A spokesman said: “Waiting time due to restricted shuttle capacity caused by the extreme and prolonged high temperatures.

“Ticket sales for travel today currently unavailable.

“The prolonged and unprecedented temperatures in the South East of England are affecting the air conditioning on board our shuttles. Due to the high level of traffic booked, we are currently unable to check-in any customers arriving more than two hours before their booked crossing time.

“We strongly recommend that you stock up with water and take a comfort break prior to arriving at our Folkestone Terminal.”

Lightning streaks through the sky in Scarborough


Lightning tears across Scarborough sky

Those using the ferry were warned of two-hour delays at Dover, with extra crossings organised to help clear the queues.

London North Eastern Railway and Northern Rail also experienced damage to signalling systems due to lightning.

Sunday is expected to be similarly cool, with a yellow weather warning for rain and wind in Wales and southern England in the afternoon.

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