London: A storm named Ciara has hit the United Kingdom as gale winds and heavy rain triggers tornado warnings and blackouts. It is being called the "storm of the century" with highways being shut and flights grounded.
The Met Office on Sunday night issued several National Severe Weather Warnings for strong winds travelling up to 144 km per hour throughout the weekend, including an Amber warning for much of England and Wales, reports Xinhua news agency.
Storm Ciara also brought about heavy rains and widespread travel chaos, with passengers travelling on Sunday and Monday morning being urged to check for updates beforehand.
In Lancashire, the fire chief warned people not to travel unless "absolutely necessary" while floods ripped through towns and disrupted motorways.
Meanwhile, a severe flood warning has been issued for river Nidd in North Yorkshire.
Weather warnings had been issued across the country for Sunday with huge waves crashing into the coastline and at least 35,000 homes being left without power, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.
The M11 highway had been shut in both directions in Cambridgeshire amid fears an airport hangar's damaged roof will be blown onto the lanes.
The highway is closed at Duxford airfield, which is also home to IWM Duxford, between junctions 9 and 10.
The extreme weather also saw parts of the country lashed with rain, with Wet Sleddale Reservoir in northwest England's Lake District national park recording 151.8 mm rainfall in the 24 hours up to 8 a.m. on Sunday -- the same amount they would receive in a month.
Travellers leaving Gatwick airport in London are facing 41 delays and one cancellation, while Heathrow has 37 flight delays and further three cancellations.
"We are experiencing very high winds today and this is causing some delays and cancellations to flights. Passengers are advised to allow plenty of time to get to the airport and check the status of their flight with their airline," said the Gatwick airport on its website.
Flights were also disrupted in and out of Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool airports.