Britain braced for 75mph gusts as Storm Ellen sweeps in

Britain braced for 75mph gusts as Storm Ellen sweeps in
Britain braced for 75mph gusts as Storm Ellen sweeps in

Gusts of up to 75mph are forecast to batter parts of the UK this week as Storm Ellen sweeps in from the Atlantic.

The fifth named storm of the 2019-2020 season is due to strike Ireland on Wednesday evening before moving north towards Scotland.

The deepening low pressure system has led the Met Office to issue a series of yellow weather warnings until Friday, with travel disruption expected.

One warning predicts strong winds could affect an area stretching from the west coast of Scotland, across the Irish Sea, western Wales and down to Plymouth and Cornwall from 8pm on Wednesday through to 4am on Friday.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said gusts could reach around 55mph, possibly rising to 65mph along exposed coasts and over higher ground.

Winds are expected to ease on Thursday morning as rain arrives, before picking up again in the afternoon and overnight into Friday.

(PA Graphics)

Forecasters predict gusts could bring delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport links and disrupt power supplies.

They warned coastal routes and communities, as well as sea fronts, could be hit by spray and large waves while tree damage could leave debris in roads.

In Ireland, meteorologists from Met Eireann, who named Storm Ellen, have issued warnings for "very severe and destructive winds" on Wednesday night.

In Northern Ireland on Thursday, another Met Office yellow weather warning running from midnight to 8am forecasts very strong winds.

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Ms Maxey said gusts could reach 65mph inland and up to 75mph over higher ground and around coasts, with the Met Office warning of a risk of injuries and "danger to life" from large waves and beach material being thrown on to sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.

A third yellow Met Office warning, covering Wales and northern, central and south west England on Friday, also predicts strong winds from 4am to 6pm, with gusts possibly reaching 45-50mph inland.

Isles of Scilly Travel said it has cancelled sailings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday "due to the forecast storm force 10 winds and the six-metre swell".

A Twitter account for the #Coastsafe campaign, a partnership involving HM Coastguard and emergency services in Devon and Cornwall, warns a combination of strong winds and spring tides "will make our coastlines hazardous for the next few days".

It added: "Swell will increase in size... Tidal surges will force water on to beaches at a faster rate... Beware of debris & overtopping around harbours/promenades."

Summer weather Aug 19th 2020
A man shelters from the rain under his jacket outside Buckingham Palace in central London, as wet weather struck the UK ahead of the arrival of Storm Ellen (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

It also warned potential weather watchers: "No photo is worth a life."

Ms Maxey said: "This time of year we've still got lots of people who are out enjoying outdoor activities, they're walking on the coast, they're camping.

"So certainly take care, be aware of the warnings and it may be worth thinking about, if you've got garden furniture or trampolines, children's toys in the garden, to think about perhaps bringing them inside or making sure they're secure."

The weather warnings come as some parts of the UK were hit by heavy rain on Wednesday morning, with Trengwainton in Cornwall, Ivybridge in Devon and Weymouth in Dorset all seeing 30mm or more in nine hours or less.

Ms Maxey said winds will be more of an issue than rain when Storm Ellen arrives, with 5-10mm expected over a three-hour period.

As of 2pm on Wednesday, the Environment Agency had issued three flood alerts advising people to be prepared.

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One alert warns of possible flooding on the south Cornwall coast from Lizard Point to Gribbin Head at high tide from Wednesday to Friday due to winds reaching up to force eight and potential large waves.

Another alert warns of possible flooding in south Devon rivers on Wednesday morning due to heavy rainfall overnight driving up water levels, with more heavy showers forecast to come.

A third warning said Wednesday afternoon's tide at Climping Seafront on the south coast near Bognor Regnis could be higher than normal due to unsettled weather and strong winds.

Ms Maxey said conditions will remain changeable in the UK going into the weekend, with blustery winds, scattered showers and sunny spells on Saturday.