Storm Clodagh to batter Britain with 70mph gales


Britain will be battered by severe gales today as the newly-named Storm Clodagh crashes into its coastline from the Atlantic.

Gusts of up to 70mph are expected around exposed coastal areas in the west, with winds in inland areas reaching between 50-60 mph, particularly in northern England, but Ireland will bear the brunt of the storm's impact.

The blustery weather has led a number of towns across the UK to cancel their Christmas lights switch-on events over the weekend.

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for this evening, covering the whole of England and Wales, though some parts of eastern Scotland and Orkney and Shetland will escape the worst of the weather. 

Wintry showers are also expected over much of Scotland, with snow falling throughout the morning and leaving dustings of up to 15cm (6in) on higher ground, and a possibility that snow could fall on the hills in northern England.

Heavy rain was also expected in the morning and early afternoon, particularly in north east England, and while rainfall is not expected to be more than 25mm (1in), already-high river levels mean the rain could lead to some localised flooding.

The Environment Agency has issued a number of flood warnings for much of England and Wales, particularly the north west and south west.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "Although rainfall accumulations are not expected to be particularly large, rivers remain high from previous rainfall and are expected to respond, leading to the risk of flooding."

He added: "The strongest winds are expected to reach Northern Ireland around dawn on Sunday, and most areas by the end of the morning, before gradually subsiding from the west during the afternoon and evening."

Bognor Regis, Portsmouth and parts of Ayrshire were among areas that have suspended their festive plans in light of the bad weather.

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.