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Airports disrupted as a month of rain falls in hours

Sky News logo Sky News 28/07/2018
Some were forced to go back home after missing their flights © N/A Some were forced to go back home after missing their flights

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.

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 © Getty 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

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.

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".

Commuters walk in the rain past a security barrier installed between the pavement and the road on London Bridge in London on June 6, 2017, as the police investigations continue following the June 3 terror attack.
Police on Monday identified two of the three London attackers as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, after Britain's third terror assault in less than three months, as Prime Minister Theresa May came under mounting pressure over security just days ahead of elections. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS        (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Commuters walk in the rain past a security barrier installed between the pavement and the road on London Bridge in London on June 6, 2017, as the police investigations continue following the June 3 terror attack. Police on Monday identified two of the three London attackers as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, after Britain's third terror assault in less than three months, as Prime Minister Theresa May came under mounting pressure over security just days ahead of elections. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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."

General view of fans under umbrella as rain stop play during Surrey against Essex © Getty General view of fans under umbrella as rain stop play during Surrey against Essex

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".

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.

Pedestrians dash through torrential rain along the Millennium Bridge, Southwark, London, as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha swept across parts of the country.   (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images) © Getty Pedestrians dash through torrential rain along the Millennium Bridge, Southwark, London, as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha swept across parts of the country. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)

"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."

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

A Northern Rail train is parked at Stockport railway station in Stockport, Britain, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble © Reuters A Northern Rail train is parked at Stockport railway station in Stockport, Britain, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

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

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

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