Storm Freya to bring strong winds after February’s record-breaking warmth

Storm Freya is set to bring strong winds, dangerous conditions and travel disruption to Britain on Sunday after the Met Office announced that last month saw record-breaking temperatures.

Forecasters predict the storm will hit on Sunday afternoon and be severe enough to risk injuries and danger to life from flying debris and large waves.

There could also be damage to buildings and trees, with travel disruption and power cuts possible.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning, which runs from 3pm on Sunday to 6am on Monday.

Gusts between 55mph and 65mph can be expected, with wind speeds reaching up to 80mph in coastal areas.

The warning, issued on Friday, came on the same day the forecaster provisionally announced that last month set a new temperature record, with average maximum daily peaks of 10C.

This beat the previous record of 9.8C, set in 1998.

Despite the start of the month seeing snow and freezing temperatures, the Met Office also said that the average mean temperature for February was 6.0C – the second warmest on record.

Clear skies and colder nights prevented the total average from being beaten, but the mean minimum daily temperature was still “well above average”, according to the forecaster.

With the high temperatures came plenty of sunshine, and last month has provisionally been named the second sunniest February on record for the whole of the UK.

However, the spring-like weather has not lasted and the Met Office warning for Sunday and Monday covers large parts of the country, including Wales, south-west England, the Midlands, northern England and parts of southern Scotland.

Winter weather Feb 8th 2019
The Met Office weather warning covers much of the UK (PA)

Road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations possible, and some roads and bridges may have to close.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “What we have got is a storm developing quite rapidly to the south and west of the UK.

“It will be developing as it goes across the UK and it will be bringing very strong winds.”

He added that gusts of 55mph to 65mph are “likely quite widely within the warning area and there is the potential for isolated gusts to reach 70 and 80mph”.

Wind speeds will be highest in Devon, Cornwall, Wales and north-west England, Mr Madge said.

The storm may also bring snow to areas more than 200 to 300 metres above sea level but temperatures will be “probably just above average for the time of year”, according to Mr Madge.

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