Storm Rachel: Motorway-speed gusts set to batter Britain as cross-Channel ferry services grind to a halt

Areas prone to flooding brace for more rain as the Met Office issues 60 flood alerts across Britain

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The Independent Online

Strong winds and heavy rain are set hit parts of the UK on Wednesday and Thursday as bad weather dubbed ‘Storm Rachel’ makes landfall in Britain.

Gusts exceeding motorway speeds at 75mph are expected to batter the southern and western coasts, with the Met office warning that 50-65mph winds will be “fairly widely” seen across Britain.

The Highways Agency warned hauliers that some lorries were at risk of blowing over in strong winds and icy, wet surface conditions on the UK’s roads.

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Lorries are queued on the A20 in Dover, Kent, as bad weather continues to delay ferry crossings across The English Channel.

"We prepare for all types of severe weather: we issue alerts to warn high-sided and other vulnerable vehicles of strong winds, our snowploughs are constantly at the ready and we will be treating the network with salt to reduce the risk of ice,” said Mik Barton, winter campaign manager for the Highways Agency.

Ferry crossings to Europe are already delayed in Dover after services to France were disrupted by bad weather in the English Channel.

Areas prone to flooding could end up underwater as the official forecasters issues 60 flood alerts and five flood warnings requiring “immediate action”.

The regions worst affected by flooding are expected to be the South West and South East of England.

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A snow plough clears the road as driving conditions become difficult on the A82 this morning in Tyndrum Scotland.

Northern Ireland and Scotland will also face very heavy winds, hitting up to 80mph.

Snow is already on the ground across much of the north, particularly on higher ground, leading to fears of bad driving conditions.

Frank Saunders, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "The volatile weather we've seen this week is set to continue in the next few days - with strong winds for many and heavy rain in places.

“This could lead to difficult driving conditions, transport disruption and potentially some localised flooding issues,” he said.

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