Winter storms to batter Britain all week


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The Independent Online

High winds and heavy rain battered South Wales, Northern Ireland and the South-west of England yesterday as one of the most unsettled periods of weather in recent years continued.

The Met Office had weather warnings in place for much of Britain, with more torrential rain and gusts of up to 80mph expected to blow in from the Atlantic by tomorrow. It said up to 10cm (3.9in) of snow could fall on high ground in Scotland, disrupting road and rail travel. The chief Met Office forecaster, Tim Hewson, said: "There is some uncertainty... for later in the week but there is potential for a significant storm. We are keeping a close eye on the situation."

A clear-up operation was under way in parts of England and Wales yesterday after overnight storms led to homes being left without power and cross-Channel ferries being cancelled. An RAF helicopter rescued a walker who fell 20ft at Llysfaen, near Colwyn Bay.

The highest wave ever measured in Irish waters – 20.4 metres (67ft) – was recorded off the coast of Donegal. A man had a lucky escape when a 60ft beech tree crashed into his bungalow in Winchester. Richard Wilkinson, 65, will need surgery after a tonne of timber came through the roof and hit his bed.

Mr Wilkinson, a former British ambassador to Venezuela and Chile, said: "I was between sleeping and awake, listening to the storm outside when there was an enormous crash, like the Eiffel Tower falling into the Crystal Palace. I felt a blow to the side of my head, there was blood in my ear and I knew what had happened."

Hampshire Police received 206 emergency calls in 24 hours. Up to 40mm of rain caused floods in Devon and Cornwall, and high winds forced the closure of the Tamar Bridge at Saltash.

London received 40 per cent of its average December rainfall in 12 hours.

Weather report: Five-day forecast

Today A cold and icy to start to the day in many parts of Britain and it will remain windy in the West. There will be heavy wintry showers in Scotland and southern Britain, but it should be bright or sunny elsewhere.

Tomorrow Another cold start and possible severe weather in central and southern England by late afternoon. Gusts of up to 80mph and heavy rain could cause flooding.

Friday The storms are expected to ease by morning.

Saturday It will be cold with wintry sunshine and showers.

Sunday Still unsettled with showers falling as snow on hills.