UK weather: 'Storm Charlie' to bring a month's rain in less than a week


There will be no let-up in the floods and storms that have battered Britain's south west coast over the last few days - with forecaster predicting a whole month's worth of rain to fall in less than a week as a new storm, called 'Charlie', hits the UK.

Gales, torrential rain and storms have left thousands without power, as well as destroying the railway track in Dawlish that connects Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the UK. Intense waves battered the line, causing it to collapse. A destruction that, according to the BBC, Network Rail believes will take a minimum of six weeks to repair.

And forecasters are warning of more to come, with "structural damage-threatening" 80mph winds and torrential rains hitting.

Meteorologist at The Weather Channel, Leon Brown, told Aol Travel: "With the jet stream set to remain in its current track across the mid Atlantic, there will be no let-up in the wet and sometimes stormy weather through most of February.

"In the next two weeks the southern portion of the UK from Cornwall and Devon, south Wales to Essex and Suffolk can expect 200 to 300% of normal precipitation, or two to three times as much as normal.

"Some places in the south west will probably receiving a month's worth in the next five days.

"The next band of heavy rain will sweep eastwards on Friday night and clear the east coast before dawn. This will bring another 20mm to 25mm over West Wales and 20mm to 20mm over southern counties by Saturday morning. At the same time southerly gales developing along the south coast, so many areas receiving a similar battering from the sea as on Wednesday.

"We are calling this storm 'Charlie'.

"During Saturday a deep area of low pressure will move across Ireland to Scotland with squally and wintry showers sweeping around the southern side across Wales and western England.

"Gales around all coasts and severe gales around Cornwall, Devon, and up to West Wales and Somerset. We can expect 80mph gusts again over exposed coasts in the south west, and inland across much of central and southern Britain 60mph gusts are likely, which will threaten some structural damage.

"Scotland and the north of England miss the worst of the winds, but showers will fall as snow over the Pennines and Scottish Mountains."

He adds that winds will create monster 15 metre waves on the coast, saying: "With storm force 10 winds expected for 24 hours to the south of Ireland, huge seas will again approach south west Britain on Saturday. Significant wave heights will approach 15m off Cornwall and will then run up towards south west Wales and also to the west Channel."

Leon adds the the winds will only gradually die down on Sunday with further heavy showers in the morning, especially near southern coasts as showers run east along the Channel.

And the outlook for next week is not much brighter. Leon says: "There will be more severe weather next week – thankfully Monday will be quieter but a band of rain moving east early on Tuesday will bring snow to northern Britain and higher ground in Wales with more than 10cm possible.

"The next storm may run further south along the Channel on Wednesday and could be very deep and ferocious, impacting Northern France as well as the UK – but this is something we will track.

"Potential for severe gales and 25-50mm of rainfall across Britain, plus heavy snow for northern Britain."

Time to plan that winter escape? Try one of these getaways:

Where to go in March
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UK weather: 'Storm Charlie' to bring a month's rain in less than a week

Shake off the winter blues with a short hop across the channel to see spring awaken in the French countryside. Add a little sparkle to your travels with a trip the Champagne region to take in the historic cities of Epernay and Reims and tour the towns and villages of the Marne River, calling by vineyards for a glass of fizz or two. UTracks offers a self-guided Champagne Trails cycling tour which includes a visit to the underground cellars of Moët & Chandon. The seven-day tour starts from £1,020 per person.

Hit the road on the north-east coast of Spain for a chance of an early blast of Mediterranean sun. The Costa Brava, from Girona to Blanes, is quiet at this time of year. It’s the ideal time to explore the pretty coves and bays, while the winding country roads aren’t choked with traffic. WeDubYou has a fleet of psychedelic Seventies vehicles that you can rent in Girona from £595 per week, including insurance, bedding, towels and kitchen equipment.

The west coast of America may be on the cool side this month, but it still notches up sunshine hours in double figures. Head to Los Angeles just in time to join in the St Patrick’s Day party. For those who fancy visiting California's Disneyland and Universal Studios, there are also fewer crowds at this time of year. The first LA Performs takes place in 2016 to grow awareness and appreciation of the city as one of the world’s premier cultural destinations, with highlights including the Los Angeles Ballet, LA Opera, CITY OF LIGHT series. What's more, UK travellers can enjoy cheaper-than-usual flights to LA in March with Air New Zealand offering fares from just £505 return.

Tiny Gozo, Malta’s little sister, sees many sunny days in March when you can take to the byways of the quiet island to see its rugged coast, turquoise waters and historic fortresses. You’ll also stumble across the island’s rich landscape of megaliths, the oldest freestanding structures in the world. Headwater offers a Highlights of Gozo Cycling holiday, taking in the scenic coastal tracks, baroque churches and colourful fishing villages, from £767 per person.

Take advantage of the start of spring in Jordan when temperatures are more bearable. You can take inspiration for your travels from the epic work of TE Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia's, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, about his experiences in the Arab Revolt. Head for Wadi Rum, which Lawrence often visited, a haunting valley of dunes and granite and sandstone canyons and peaks. Explore offers a Discover Jordan adventure holiday taking in Petra, Jerash, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. The trip, which costs from £650 without flights, includes snorkelling in the Red Sea and a chance to experience the Bedouin lifestyle.

March is a great time to see the Northern Lights. Why? First, Earth's orbit is in a zone of maximum solar activity during these months, and secondly, the month of March combines sufficiently dark skies with milder temperatures for more comfortable viewing. If you're looking for an exciting icy adventure, the hot ticket right now is undoubtedly the Svalbard archipelago. Discover the World's Tromso and Svalbard holiday includes a stay in Longyearbyen, snowmobiling and sledding. A six-night trip starts from £986.

Take a well-earned break from the chilly weather in Britain on the sun-drenched beaches of the Canary Islands. Amid the lively resorts of Gran Canaria is a spectacular desert of dunes at Maspalomas. It’s just the place to roll out a towel, open a good book, and soak up some sun. First Choice offers a seven-night all-inclusive holiday at the five-star Hotel Tabaiba Princess with return flights from Luton for £640 per person in March 2016.

Head south to Palermo in Sicily for a city break in the sun. Browse the faded splendour of the palaces, castles and churches built in Byzantine, Arab, Norman and Renaissance times, revealing this ancient community’s multicultural roots. Stop for a panelle - a vegetable fritter - at a street stall and brush shoulders with the locals in the lively Ballaro, Vucciria and Capo markets. Expedia offers a three-night break staying at the Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes and including flights from £266 per person in March.

Ski conditions are good in Europe in March, yet tour operators often have problems filling beds this month, so take your pick of the resorts. For good skiing and a very lively après-ski scene, St Anton in the Austrian Tyrol has it all. Book the four-bedroom Chalet Maroi with Supertravel from £1,199 per person in March, including chalet board accommodation for seven nights.

Visit the cradle of democracy just in time to see the Aegean regain its sparkle and the wildflowers bloom - in March the temperature in Athens can hit a very pleasant 16C. This intense city, with its own brand of anarchic wit (apparent in the graffitied responses to the country's ongoing economic woes), comes alive again at this time of year. Take a crash course in classical civilisation, smug in the knowledge that you've avoided the crowds that invade the historical sites in summer. is currently showing flights from Stansted to Athens from just £70 return in March.

March is the perfect time to visit Hawaii as it still whale watching season. The activity can take place off any of the Hawaiian Islands, however one of the best spots is the shallow ‘Au‘au Channel between Maui and Lana‘i, and Moloka‘i. Hawaii is known around the world for its warm temperatures and it is a favourite spot for the humpback whale. It is estimated that two thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population returns to Hawai‘i to breed, calve and nurse their young between December and March/April. Hayes & Jarvis offers seven-night holidays in Maui from £1,196 per person.

Spring in Japan can only mean one thing: cherry blossom. Sweeping along the length of the country each year, the cherry blossom season begins with Okinawa in the far south in February and works its way to northern Hokkaido in May. In spring it is de rigueur to head out into the local parks and gardens, bringing a selection of picnic food and drinks to join the locals for a hanami - or flower-viewing. Steppes Travel offers a 13-day Highlights of Japan Adventure from £3,795 per person, taking in the Japanese Alps, Bullet trains and Tokyo.
The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are the perfect destination for March with an average temperature of a comfortable 28C making it ideal for relaxation and getting away from the dull British weather. Bask on some of the 365 glorious beaches, explore the rich colonial history and get to know the captivating culture. Swimming with stingrays at Stingray City, snorkelling in azure waters on a tour of the island and taking in the cultural history of St John’s, Antigua’s historic capital, are some of the best activities. Kuoni offers a seven-night all-inclusive holiday to Antigua's Keyonna Beach starting from £1,982 per person in March, including flights and transfers.

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