Strong winds warning for motorists

Drivers have been warned to keep their speed down as strong winds look set to batter parts of northern England and Scotland tomorrow.

The Met Office has issued an advisory of "severe or extreme weather" for southern Scotland and Lothian and Borders, north-east England and Cumbria.

Breakdown service the AA said sudden gusts could catch inexperienced drivers off-guard.

Stewart Topp, from the AA, said: "As the wind speed increases, the pressure it exerts on your car increases even more - for example, if wind speed doubles from 30mph to 60mph, the pressure on your car will increase by more than four times.

"Wind rarely blows steadily either, so expect sudden gusts at any time. Keep both hands on the wheel, particularly if you're being buffeted by the wind or the slipstreams of other vehicles, and anticipate stronger winds and gusts on exposed stretches of road or when passing high-sided vehicles."

He added: "It's important to keep your speed down too - the faster you're travelling, the further off course you're likely to drift in a sudden gust before you get the vehicle back under control. Bear in mind too that vehicles may get blown into your path.

"Look out for debris on the roads too, as hitting something like a large branch at speed could be fatal, so it's important to keep your speed down and drive with great care."

Forecaster Rob Hutchinson, from MeteoGroup, the weather arm of the Press Association, said: "We've got this deepening depression which will be bringing strong winds.

"In terms of wind speed you are looking at gusts of 70mph to 75mph across exposed western parts of Scotland, the Western Isles and the Highlands.

"Also there will be some quite gusty winds coming in near to the Pennines in the North East - probably with maximum wind gusts of 65mph to 70mph.

"It's probably going to be a case of picking up through the morning. It will ease down quite markedly overnight on Saturday.

"It's the second big autumn storm we have had this year. It's certainly not the most severe kind of storm we could get at this time of year."

"It's just typical for this time of year really," he added.

On the Met Office website, the weather warning states: "There is a moderate risk of severe weather affecting parts of southern Scotland and north east England along with parts of Cumbria on Saturday.

"Westerly winds will gust 50-60mph at times with gusts to 70mph possible."