Storm Evert, the first named storm of 2021, hit southern parts of the UK overnight bringing with it costal gales, rain, and winds of up to 70mph.
Two yellow wind warnings remain in effect on Friday morning for southern England and Wales along the coast, reaching from St David’s in the west to Great Yarmouth in the east.
Gusts of up to 40 to 50mph are expected quite widely along the coast and could reach up to 55mph along the most exposed coastal areas. Strong winds are also expected to reach North Sea coastal areas during the late morning and afternoon.
The Met Office also issued a yellow thunderstorm warning for areas in the east of England, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber. Heavy showers, thunderstorms and torrential downpours are expected to last until late this evening.
Some areas could see up to 70mm of rain falling, increasing the risk of flooding. Driving and road conditions could become difficult, and some communities could potentially be cut off due to flooded roads. Power and other services could also be lost in some areas due to the storm.
The storm arrived as the Met Office said that the climate crisis is already evident across the UK, with the country becoming significantly hotter and wetter. Experts pointed out that from 1991 to 2020, the UK has become 0.9C warmer and 6 per cent wetter.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of Storm Evert.
Storm Evert reaches the UK
Storm Evert, the first named storm of 2021, reached the shores of England and Wales overnight.
It lashed the south-west with costal gales and winds of up to 75mph as the Met Office warned the storm would “get worse before it gets better”.
Overnight an amber weather warning was in place for south-west England, bringing with it concerns that strong winds would potentially damage infrastructure and lead to travel disruptions, large waves, and flying debris.
The Environment Agency issued six flood alerts for areas including parts of south London and an area on the Isle of Wight, and at least 14 properties were evacuated in Cumbria, according to the Cumbria County Council.
Met Office: Climate crisis already evident in the UK
The Met Office has said that the climate crisis is already evident in the UK.
In a statement, they said that 2020 was the first year to have temperature, rain, and sunshine rankings all in the top 10.
“2020 was the first year that the annual values for rainfall, temperature and sunshine were all in the top ten the same year. 2020 was third warmest, fifth wettest and eight sunniest on record for the UK.”
It continued, saying that all of the top-ten warmest years on record in the UK have occurred since 2002, with the last 30-year period (1991-2020) being 0.9C warmer than the preceding 30-year period.
It added that the UK has been on average 6 per cent wetter over the past 30 years, compared with the previous 30-year period.
Highest winds reported so far
The Met Office tweeted Friday morning, sharing some of the highest winds reported so far during Storm Evert.
St Mary’s Isles of Scilly – 69 mph
Needles, Isle of Wight – 66 mph
Berry Head, Devon – 55 mph
Camborne – 55mph
Plymouth – 52mph
The Met Office has said that Storm Evert will bring “very unsettled weather with rain or showers, some heavy and thundery” across England and Wales.
Unseasonably windy conditions are expected across areas in the south and south east, where yellow wind warnings remain in effect until 6pm today. Gusts of 40 to 50 mph are expected, with the potential of getting up to around 55mph in the most exposed coastal areas.
Winds are expected to slowly ease from the west.
Elsewhere in the UK, a few showers are expected alongside brighter skies.
By this evening, Storm Evert is expected to clear to the east, allowing central parts of the country to become mostly clear and dry as occasional showers continue to affect the east and west.
How climate crisis is already impacting ‘not prepared’ UK, according to Met Office
Dr Mike Kendon, senior climate scientist and the lead author of the Met Office’s recent research on climate change, said at a press briefing: “Our climate is changing now and that’s something we see clearly in our observations.
“The science is clear that we’re going to see more of this moving into the future.”
Climate correspondent Daisy Dunne reports.
Climate crisis is already impacting UK, says Met Office
Campers caught in storm Evert
Many campers faced extraordinarily challenging camping conditions Thursday night and into Friday morning as they were faced with gale force winds.
While some weathered the storm, others chose to cut their losses and cut their holidays short.
RNLI Storm Evert response
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution was busy overnight responding to Storm Evert.
Crews from Cornwall, St Marys, the Isles of Scilly and Sennen Cove responded to at least 22 incidents, alongside the Maritime and Coastguard Agency with air support from the search and rescue helicopter.
Crews were seen taxiing people to shore from their boats throughout the night.
Forecast for London and south east England
The Met Office is forecasting winds, rains and heavy showers for London and the south east on Friday.
It is expected to be “unseasonably windy” throughout the day, with outbreaks of rain throughout the morning, becoming heavy and persistent.
Some brighter spells are possible in the afternoon, but most areas will see showers, with some becoming thundery.
Showers are expected to continue into the evening and ease overnight, with a minimum temperature of 13C.
Saturday morning will be mostly dry with sunny spells, although cloud is expected to build throughout the day leading to scattered and sometimes heavy thunder showers, with a maximum temperature of 24C.
Totnes bypass blocked due to landslip
A bypass in Totnes was blocked due to a landslip in the early hours of Friday morning.
The A381 bypass Northbound at Totnes was blocked due to a landslip between Harpers Hill and Plymouth Road as torrential rain loosened roadside sub-soil and allowed tonnes of earth to crash onto the road.
No injuries were reported, and despite the blockage, traffic was said to be coping well.
Traffic monitoring service Inrix reported that the bypass had been cleared as of 7.35am.
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