Britain braced for gale force winds


Fierce storms are set to lash Britain tomorrow with gale-force winds of up to 80mph and heavy rain predicted to cause misery for millions of people returning to work.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across nearly every region of the UK and said that powerful gusts could cause travel disruption during the morning rush hour.

Forecasters also predicted localised flooding in parts of Wales and northwest England and a marked drop in temperature, bringing the festive celebrations to an abrupt end.

Northwest Scotland was hit by gales, sleet, hail and snow on high ground overnight, with the wintry weather expected to engulf the rest of the UK over next 24 hours.

Billy Payne, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "There is a deep area of low pressure coming in from the west, bringing strengthening winds and heavy rain with gales of up to 80mph developing in places.

"Everywhere will get some heavy rain and strong winds tomorrow, but central and south Scotland will be worse affected.

"North and western England will have significant winds of up to 70mph with gusts reaching 50-60mph in other places. They will be strong enough to cause travel disruption and damage," he added.

Mr Payne said "significant" rainfall would add to the weather misery, with up to two inches forecast on high ground in northern regions of the UK. He added the rainfall could turn to snow in parts of Scotland.

Weather experts also predict a marked drop in temperature from today, with the unusually mild conditions over Christmas and the New Year making way for more seasonal mercury readings.

Temperatures are expected to reach around 8C in London, compared with a high of 14C recorded on Sunday.

Issuing a yellow warning for strong winds and heavy rain, The Met Office said "A spell of wet and very windy weather will affect the UK during Tuesday.

"The public should be aware of the possibility of disruption, including to travel, due to strong winds on Tuesday morning in most parts and during the afternoon across north-eastern Scotland.

"A spell of heavy rain will also affect many regions, with a risk of localised flooding over parts of Wales and north-west England."