Christmas lights switch-ons cancelled amid strong winds


A number of towns across the UK have cancelled their Christmas lights switch-on events this weekend amid warnings of blustery weather.

Bognor Regis, Portsmouth and parts of Ayrshire are among the areas that have suspended their festive plans as the Met Office issued warnings of strong winds, as well as heavy rainfall in some areas.

Gusts of up to 70mph are expected around some exposed coastal areas, with more inland areas reaching between 50-60 mph winds throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Local authorities across Scotland have cancelled their switch-on celebrations - including Irvine in North Ayrshire, which was expecting an appearance from The Only Way Is Essex Star James Lock - as the country faces snow on higher ground.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for Saturday and Sunday covering the whole of England and Wales, though the far north is expected to be slightly less windy than the rest of the UK.

Winds speeds will strengthen from the west on Saturday morning with coastlines exposed to the west and south west experiencing 60mph gusts, the Met Office said.

The wind speeds could drop on Saturday night but will be even stronger on Sunday when western coasts could see 70mph gusts.

The warning said: "Please be aware of the potential for some disruption due to the strong winds."

Met Office meteorologist Emma Sharples said inland areas will not be quite as windy as at the coast but could still see speeds over 50mph.

Ms Sharples said the winds will also be accompanied by unsettled weather meaning a showery weekend for many parts.

She said: "The showers will be wintry further north. Parts of Scotland will see snow on higher ground, probably above 300 metres."

Snow showers are expected to move further south in Scotland on Sunday, including across the central belt. But significant snowfalls are still only expected on higher ground.

There is also a chance the snow could stretch as far south as the hills of the far north of England.

The Environment Agency issued flood warnings on Friday in the Hessle area of East Yorkshire, close to the north end of the Humber Bridge, and in Dunster and Porlock Weir in Somerset.