UK weather latest: Snow forecast as Met Office issues warnings

'We are warning drivers across the UK that high winds will make conditions challenging'

Hilary Duncanson
Wednesday 22 November 2017 23:51
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Parts of Britain should brace for snow as heavy rain and strong winds lash much of the of the UK causing widespread flooding.

Heavy and persistent snow is forecast for Scotland, with 2cm to 5cm likely for many parts and up to 20cm on the highest ground, the Met Office said.

A yellow "be aware" weather warning for snow kicked in just after midnight for the Scottish Highlands, Western Isles, Grampian, Strathclyde and Central, Tayside and Fife regions.

The warning, which covers the morning rush hour and is valid until 1pm on Thursday, warns that some roads and railways are likely to be affected, with possible longer journey times for road, bus and train services.

Meanwhile a yellow weather warning of heavy rain was in force for southern Scotland, northern England and Wales until early Thursday.

Highways England closed the A14 in Suffolk in both directions between junction 56 and 57 and Lancaster City Council opened an emergency centre as a result of heavy rainfall.

Ireland was badly hit as flash floods wreaked significant damage in Mountmellick on Wednesday as torrents of water ran through the town and poured into multiple properties.

Laois County Council triggered an emergency plan, evacuating many residents to nearby hotels. Civil Defence and Fire Service crews were involved in the relief efforts.

Forecasters warned that spray and flooding on roads will make journey times longer while bus and train services are also likely to be affected.

Strong winds were also forecast for south of the border.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said: "Snow is forecast for northern Scotland and this could potentially affect travel in the area. Outside that area snow is not going to be an issue, it's more likely to be heavy rain."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued flood alerts for Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

South of the border there are a number of flood warnings in force, mostly in north west England, and dozens more flood alerts.

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: "We are warning drivers across the UK that high winds will make conditions challenging. The advice is for drivers to slow down and ensure they double the normal recommended two-second distance between their car and the vehicle in front.

"Hold the steering wheel firmly and be prepared to be buffeted by gusts of wind. Drivers in Scotland who travel on roads on high ground and mountain passes should be prepared for snowy conditions."

He added: "It's wise to pack a 'winter survival kit' including a shovel, blanket, additional warm clothing, a torch, a flask with a warm drink and ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and consider letting your friends, family or colleagues know when you expect to arrive. It may be worth delaying your journey or taking an alternative route until conditions improve and the snow ploughs have made roads fully passable. Keep tuned to the weather and travel forecasts on local radio."

Sheena Engineer, national duty flood manager at the Environment Agency, added: "Heavy, persistent rain is expected across northern England on Wednesday and into Thursday. This brings of a risk of localised flooding, particularly across high ground in Cumbria.

"Environment Agency staff are out on the ground, checking flood defences and clearing debris from rivers. Preparations include installing a temporary barrier at Braithwaite, near Keswick.

"We will issue flood alerts and warnings where necessary. People should check their flood risk online and keep up to date with the latest situation at: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/."

Press Association

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