Storms expected to batter Britain

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Heavy rain and gale force winds are expected to batter the UK, bringing more misery for travellers.

After snow and ice caused trouble on roads and railways yesterday, forecasters say the weather will turn very wet and windy across much of the country.

A Met Office “be aware” weather warning is in place for rain and high winds, with gusts of up to 80mph possible in coastal areas.

The gale alert covers the whole of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and central and southern Scotland.

Flooding is also expected across much of Tayside, west central Scotland and south-east England.

The latest weather blast follows fierce storms which left 120,000 properties without power in Scotland last week.

The Met Office said last night: “The winds will ease by midnight, but then after something of a lull, a further spell of very strong winds, this time from the west, is expected from late Thursday morning onwards into the evening, again with gusts of 70mph or more in places.

“The public should be aware of the risk of disruption to transport and possibly to power supplies.”

Cars were stuck and lorries jack-knifed on icy routes as snow, sleet and high winds swept the country yesterday.

The AA said it had rescued 57 vehicles and attended 8,200 breakdowns by mid-afternoon, reporting poor conditions in Scotland’s central belt and north-west England.

Some rail and ferry services were suspended and more than 100 schools were shut in the Highlands and Islands, Perthshire and Northern Ireland due to the weather.

Several routes in the north of Scotland were closed due to drifting snow and fallen trees and Cumbria Police warned of icy conditions after receiving up to 40 reports of road collisions across the county.

Darron Burness from the AA’s severe weather team said: “The reality is that while you can have your car completely prepared for winter, you can’t control what goes on around you. If there’s an accident ahead or a lorry jackknifes, you’re probably not going anywhere in a hurry, so you need to be prepared for that.

“Likewise, if you break down in a vulnerable location, say on the hard shoulder or blind bend, it’s too dangerous to stay in the vehicle, regardless of the weather. If you’re just wearing shorts and a T-shirt, as our patrols have seen this week, you’re going to have a cold wait.”

He added: “Flooding could be an issue as the snow gives way to rain. If in any doubt, don’t risk crossing a flooded road or ford – just turn round and find an alternative route.”

The British Red Cross also urged people to prepare for adverse weather in the coming days.

Simon Lewis, head of emergency planning, said: “Putting together an emergency kit to take with you on the move or keep at home is a great way to start – being sure to include items such as a torch, spare batteries, emergency contact details, bottled water and if travelling by car, consider taking a shovel.”

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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