Weather warnings issued as Storm Barbara to bring heavy rain and strong winds

Weather warnings have been issued as a European storm is expected to bring gale force winds and heavy showers to southern parts of the UK on Wednesday.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of heavy rain across most parts of southern England between 3am and 2pm on Wednesday, with forecasters saying it could bring disruption with surface water and spray on roads, with the risk of flooding.

The affected areas stretch from the West Midlands to the East of England and down to the South West.

The Met Office said around 10-15mm of rain will fall widely, with as much as 30-50mm – up to 2in – in a few locations, most of which will fall in a short period of around three to six hours.

Additionally, a yellow warning has been issued for severe gales across south-east England, mainly around the Kent and Sussex areas, on Wednesday between 7am and 5pm, with gusts of 45 to 55mph inland and 65mph near the coast.

The warnings come as Storm Barbara, named by Spanish meteorologists, is to unleash torrential downpours across Spain and Portugal, with some areas possibly seeing the equivalent of four to six weeks’ worth of rain in just a few days.

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said: “From this evening (Tuesday), into the early hours, there will be a band of rain moving in from the south, bringing some at times heavy rain, particularly in the South East, and then following that later in the day, a period of stronger winds, particularly again in the South East.”

Mr Claydon said winds could be particularly strong across “exposed coastal locations” and through the Dover Strait.

He said the UK can expect “unsettled” weather for the rest of the week.

“That wind and rain clears off into the North Sea and after that we’re left with a continued spell of unsettled conditions across the UK through the week,” he said.

“There will be periods of slightly more settled conditions and at times brighter weather as well, so there will be some sunshine around.

“But generally remaining broadly unsettled, with further wind and rain to affect the UK through the weekend as well.”