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Storm Gareth: 7 mile ferry crossing queues as Met Office issues further warning

Storm Gareth has been causing chaos around the country with a seven mile queue forming on a major motorway after the severe weather disrupted cross-Channel ferry crossings.

A section of the M20 in Kent has been closed as part of traffic management measure Operation Stack which queues lorries waiting for space on ferries and Eurotunnel crossings.

The section of the M20 between Junction 8 (Maidstone services) and Junction 9 (Ashford) has been closed to traffic.

Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: "This will ease the flow of traffic into Dover as a result of bad weather causing delays to cross-Channel traffic."

P&O Ferries earlier said its Dover-Calais sailings were delayed by up to two hours.

Massive queues as bad weather causes cross Channel ferry delays

The queues were said to be about 7 miles long

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Kent Police issued a statement late afternoon which said: "Operation Stack remains in place on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 between junctions 8 and 9.

"It is expected that the operation will continue through the night.

"This is due to adverse weather conditions affecting Channel crossings at the Port of Dover.

"Manston Airfield is currently not being used to queue Dover-bound freight."

Lorries queue outside Dover in Kent where Operation Stack is being implemented

A ferry arrives at the Port of Dover in Kent as bad weather causes ferry delays

And more bad weather is on the way, as the Met Office has issued a yellow warning for rain tomorrow for parts of the country.

A spell of heavy rain is expected to affect parts of northern England on Thursday.

Forecasters warn that flooding of a few homes and businesses is likely, and that bus and train services will probably be affected with journey times taking longer.

Waves crash into Lambeth Walk in St Ives harbour as Storm Gareth brings strong winds and stormy seas to Cornwall

Today the Met Office recorded top inland winds speeds of 75mph in Argyll, Scotland and a scary 110 mph at 847m on Great Dun Fell, Cumbria, with Liverpool and the North West among the areas worst hit by the high winds.

A tree falling on to overhead wires between Irvine and Kilwinning overnight caused disruption to trains between Glasgow and Ayr, but Scotrail confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the lines had been repaired.

Trains between Durham and Newcastle were also halted after overhead electric wires were damaged, impacting LNER, CrossCountry, Northern and Transpennine Express services, but reopened later on Wednesday morning.

Some Virgin Trains services between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston and some between Glasgow Central and Preston were cancelled.

There were also reports of trees blocking roads and some exposed routes in north-east England being closed to high-sided vehicles.

Storm-force winds created "atrocious" conditions for an operation to rescue six crew from a French fishing vessel off Land’s End.

The bad weather is set to continue

Looking ahead – weather forecast:

Thursday

Early rain, heavy at times on western hills, clearing southeastwards from most areas but perhaps lingering in the southwest.

Sunny spells and showers following.

Windy, though less so than recently.

Friday to Sunday

Remaining unsettled.

Heaviest rain in the west, especially northwest England and west Wales.

Strongest winds in the north on Friday, then central and southern parts on Saturday.

Showery on Sunday.

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