Travel chaos as sunny summer days seem a distant memory

Summer washout! Sunny days seem a distant memory as wind and rain batter Britain this weekend with more flood alerts in place – and even The Ashes is thrown into disarray

  • Traffic jams over weekend as estimated 12.6million cars  hit the road for summer
  • It is biggest travel weekend in four years with 20 per cent more traffic on roads
  • Weather has compounded misery as the final fifth test match of the Ashes at risk 

Britain’s summer seems like a distant memory as the country is being lashed with wind and rain this weekend, which has put the Ashes final test match at risk and could cause major problems on the roads.

The UK also saw traffic jams across on Friday as an estimated 12.6million cars in total were said to of hit the roads this weekend.

It is the beginning of the biggest foreign summer holiday getaway in four years with strikes and delays causing misery.

More than 2million were expected to be travelling abroad this weekend.

The RAC warned of a ‘busy weekend on the roads’ as there were 20 per cent more cars clogging roads this weekend than the same weekend pre-pandemic.

Also, 2,467 roadworks remained in place over the weekend, RAC data showed.

Britain has faced a weekend washout with heavy rain and wind for much of the country and weather warnings for rain in the north

People get caught out in the heavy downpours in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

A car is abandoned on Crossley Road in Levenshulme following heavy rain last night in Manchester

Yellow weather warnings are in place for most of northern England and parts of North Wales

People enjoying the warm weather in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on Sunday July 23

Long lines at busy Heathrow Airport as people head out of the uk on their summer breaks as the schools all break up

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘Sunday was already a busy getaway day, but awful weather on Saturday meant some people delayed travel until Sunday.’

However, today the roads have been so far relatively clear.

According to, there is congestion on the M1 J12 northbound around Flitwick and also the M1 J31 northbound around Worksop due to broken-down vehicles.

There is also disruption on the m3 eastbound J5 and J4A as well as J4A and J5 due to an accident as well as carriageway lane management.

Yesterday also saw congestion on the M25 clockwise with J14, around Heathrow.

While there the roads have been clear today, there have been huge queues in the airport as people still flew out for their summer getaway.

A cricket fan checks his phone as rain delays the start of play during day five of the Ashes test match

Fans were undeterred by the weather as people eagerly waited and hoped for play to commence

Fans ask England’s Jonny Bairstow fo an autograph ahead of the rain delayed start of play

The Ashes was delayed because of the rain but a spokesman said he hoped that there would be some cricket today

People in the north can expect to feel chilly as a result of the heavy rain and wind due amid weather warnings

Crowds cross over the 16th fairway during day four of The Open at Royal Liverpool, Wirral

The rain falls by the 18th grandstand during day four of The Open at Royal Liverpool, Wirral

USA’s Scottie Scheffler (left) and USA’s Brooks Koepka on the 17th green during day four of The Open

Spectators with yellow umbrellas as the rain falls. The band of rain is expected to move further south overnight

Even though traffic today has been better than anticipated, so far, experts warn there could be more traffic chaos to come.

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘This could be the worst summer yet for travel, with so many different problems and across many sections of travel. It’s a summer of stress.’

Tens of thousands of holidaymakers risk flights being cancelled as 450 Gatwick check-in staff and baggage handlers strike for eight days, from Friday to August 1 and August 4 to 8.

July is seeing the highest number of flights leaving the UK for four years.

Stansted Airport is squeezing in a third more passengers this weekend than in 2019, with 200,000 customers departing.

Sarah Coles, consumer expert at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘After last year’s airport staff shortages, this summer’s problems are especially upsetting for people who have worked hard to be able to pay for a holiday, then find it is facing disruption.’

England are playing against Australia in the Ashes at Manchester Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

But the weather is forecast to be rainy and windy throughout day five of the contest.

People enjoying the weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset. People in the southwest can expect milder temperatures

A person zip lines from Bournemouth pier towards Bournemouth beach in Dorset

In fact, the Met Office has put a yellow weather warning for much of northern England, including Manchester and parts of North Wales.

According to the Met Office, a yellow warning means the heavy rain is likely to cause ‘some disruption, particularly to outdoor events’.

The Ashes has already been delayed due to rain however, a spokesman for England Cricket said it has ‘not been ruled out that some cricket might be played today’ once the rain clears up.

Pictures have emerged of flooded roads across Manchester as heay rain lashed the city.

Also affected is the The Open at Royal Liverpool, Wirral, which has been a washout but has not stopped the game or the spectators from watching the action. 

It is predicted to stay calmer in the southwest and southeast with sunny spells among some showers

People enjoying the weather on Bournemouth beach in Dorset in a stark contrast to the appalling weather further north

Deckchairs are stacked up on the sea front on Bournemouth beach. Parts of Scotland will enjoy milder conditions too

Today’s yellow warning stretches from Holyhead in Wales to Scarborough and Carlisle in England and the areas could see 20-30mm of rain and higher ground places getting as much as 70mm.

In Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, a Morrisons had to clear out its fridges today due to the previous night’s flooding. 

Jonathan Vautrey, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: ‘The band of rain that we’ve currently got from Northern Ireland down to Wales and parts of central and southern England, such as Oxfordshire and Hampshire, will continue to push its way northwards overnight.

‘By tomorrow morning, it’s going to stall across the central swathe of the UK in Northern Ireland, northern England and parts of north Wales.

Morrisons in Gateshead empty fridges after last nights rain storm. The north of England can expect extremely wet weather for the rest of the day

Pictures show the empty shelves at the Morssisons in in Tyne and Wear, the northeast of England

‘It primarily sits there for a fair amount of Sunday, particularly in England and Wales, which is why the Met Office has issued a yellow rain warning for that area.

‘We have had a relatively wet Saturday, so topping up with the rainfall expected quite persistently throughout Sunday does have the potential to cause some travel disruption and issues with any outdoor events taking place through there.’

Temperatures in southern England are average for this time of year but northern areas will feel cool from rain and cloud.

A wildfire burns next to a beach near Lindos, on the island of Rhodes, Greece

Fires on the island of Rhodes forced dozens to evacuate their homes late Friday

Greece has been battling with forest fires across the country with the nation on a state of alert this weekend

It is predicted to stay calmer in the southwest and southeast with sunny spells among some showers.

Scotland will experience sunnier weather with temperatures likely to stay in the low 20s.

Looking ahead, tonight the rain will move slowly south, lying between North Wales to Lincolnshire by dawn.

Down south, there will be a few heavy showers but temperatures will be mild.

From Monday, the rain will clear from England and Wales with heavy showers for a time.

But it will be mostly dry elsewhere with sunny spells but it will be breezy.

The weather is a dramatic contrast to the scorching heat experienced in parts of southern Europe.

The exceptional temperatures also mean key tourist sites such as the Acropolis will be closed during the hottest part of the day

Pine trees burning in a wildfire on the Greek island of Rhodes. Coastguards lead more than 20 boats in an emergency evacuation to rescue people from the island

Greece has been battling with forest fires across the country with the nation on a state of alert this weekend.

Fires on the island of Rhodes forced dozens to evacuate their homes late Friday, officials said, as Slovak firefighters arrived to provide reinforcement.

A hotel in the Kiotari area of the island that was bustling with tourists was also forced to evacuate as a precautionary measure, requiring 30 buses to relocate the holiday-goers to a safer area.

The exceptional temperatures also mean key tourist sites such as the Acropolis will be closed during the hottest part of the day, with authorities saying the last entries for tourists will be at 11:30am on Sunday.

‘This weekend risks being the hottest registered in July in the past 50 years,’ said Panagiotis Giannopoulos, meteorologist with state broadcaster ERT.