UK weather: Storm Rachel blows in as forecasters warn much of Britain could experience snow

Snow, 80mph winds and icy driving conditions have triggered warnings across the country

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The Independent Online

Britain is braced for more bad weather as Storm Rachel blows in, with parts of the UK expecting 80 mph severe gales, snow and ice.

Travellers are being cautioned to put off all non-essential journeys as forecasters warned that a temporary lull last night would give way to the lowest temperatures this winter so far, as more snow and icy conditions are expected.

A Met Office spokesperson told The Independent that people across the country could expect a cold start to the day as the wet and windy effects of the Atlantic storm system are felt.

“We could well expect some snowfall across the UK with a reasonable amount of snowfall across north-western areas as it moves through,” they said.

“Showers and rain across Northern Ireland and northern Scotland will turn increasingly to snow across low lying levels over the coming week, with areas further snow possibly seeing some icy precipitation later in the week.”

A Met Office yellow, “Be Aware”, warning is in place for rain and strong winds across the whole of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and central and southern Scotland.  

The spokesperson continued:  “We have already seen some strong winds overnight. For the most part what we can expect is another pulse of strong winds that will push down into north western parts of the UK, down across exposed parts, could see gust reaching 60-70mph and in exposed areas up to 80mph.”

 

The Environmental Agency has issued 32 flood warnings, cautioning residents that flooding is “expected” with “immediate action required” in Tayside and west central Scotland and issued 149 possible flood alerts across England and Wales.

The weather has been triggered by an Atlantic depression dubbed Storm Rachel.

“It is one of our standard winter storms we get them every year during this time of year. They develop in the Atlantic they move close to and occasionally across the UK. They are a standard low, mid-latitude storm,” the Met Office spokesperson said, cautioning that the weather pattern – called a cyclone by some – “isn’t anything like that, it is a mid-latitude storm.”

Read more: Warnings issued for snow, ice, gales and flooding
Snow, ice and 70mph gale force winds expected
Severe storms leave thousands without power

Last week storms left 120,000 homes in Scotland without power for days and caused disruption across the country.

Yesterday, almost 200 schools were closed across the country. At least 90 schools in the Highlands were shut, more than 100 were closed in Ireland and 16 were forced to close their doors in Wales.

In Scotland, the Forth Road Bridge was open only to cars after high winds jack knifed two HGVs on the A9.

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