Thursday, November 11, 2010

Warnings England, Ireland and Wales.. ( bbc)

Met Office issues severe gales warning

Nick Ravenscroft describes the scene in a windy Blackpool
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Disruption as winds batter Kent
Heavy rain causes island flooding
Rail delays due to wire problems

Severe gales of up to 80mph (129km/h) could hit parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland overnight, the Met Office is warning.

A spokeswoman said "very, very strong winds" were expected and could cause disruption and damage to trees.

Winds are already strengthening in north-west England, Yorkshire and Humber, Northern Ireland and Anglesey where weather warnings are in place.

Parts of Wales and the Isle of Wight have also seen localised flooding.

Helen Chivers, forecaster at the Met Office, said winds began building during Thursday afternoon and gusts of 70mph (113 km/h) were recorded in Aberdaron, in Gwynedd, and 56mph (90km/h) in parts of Cumbria.

"They're going to keep building from now until around midnight or just into the early hours, and after that start to ease," Ms Chivers said.

"The winds we saw on Sunday weren't as high as this and they did bring down trees, so we would expect there to be some damage tonight. Tiles could come down on roofs that are poorly maintained.

"It's obviously going to be hazardous for travelling. The wind is south-westerly, so on north-south routes drivers will definitely experience a strong crosswind."

Exposed areas

The Highways Agency said it had issued an amber alert for high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes travelling in north-east and north-west England because of the increased risk from strong winds.

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"Drivers should allow extra time for journeys and take particular care in exposed and raised areas such as bridges by slowing down and leaving extra room for braking," regional operations manager John McTaggart said.

The Dartford-Thurrock river crossing in Kent, the QEII Bridge, was closed on Thursday afternoon for safety reasons.

Northamptonshire Police were also forced put a 50m (165ft) cordon around a bungalow in Higham Ferrers after the strong winds blew a tree on it.

BBC weather forecaster Nick Miller said exposed coasts and hillsides, especially across the Pennines, would feel the brunt of the gales, although even inland areas could experience 60mph (97km/h) winds.

Showers are also expected during the afternoon and overnight across much of the UK, with the heaviest rain likely in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Strong winds and rain on Thursday forced the closure of the old M48 Severn Bridge crossing to high vehicles, and the introduction of speed restrictions on the A55 Britannia Bridge at Anglesey and along the south Wales stretch of the M4.

Ferry services were also disrupted, and there were reports of fallen trees and power cables in Monmouthshire and Camarthenshire, and flooding around Neath.

Fire crews on the Isle of Wight are dealing with flood-related incidents at about 100 homes, mostly in Ryde, following heavy rain on Wednesday night.

Flight and ferry crossings to the Isle of Man have also been cancelled.