Warning of travel disruption and power cuts as Storm Gareth blows in
Heavy rain has hit parts of the country as Storm Gareth is set to bring potentially disruptive weather to the UK.
Weather warnings covering England, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland are in force for Tuesday and Wednesday as forecasters warned that the storm, which was named on Monday, could bring travel disruption and power cuts.
A Met Office yellow warning of rain for parts of northern England came into force just after midnight on Tuesday and will last until midday.
Forecasters said 2in-2.4in (50mm-60mm) of rain was possible over higher ground in Cumbria.
Highways England said officers were dealing with severe flooding on the northbound entry slip road to Charnock Richard services off the M6 in Lancashire, while a lane was closed on the M6 southbound near junction 33, at Hampson Green in Lancashire, because of a flood.
The Environment Agency said staff had been working through the night in Cumbria and Lancashire to monitor rain and river levels.
It said on Twitter: “We’ve been out throughout the night clearing grids & removing debris in #Cumbria & #Lancs to reduce flood risk during #stormgareth.
“Rain is falling on already wet catchments, therefore it’s important that people do remain vigilant, be prepared & know your risk.”
After the rain clears, the storm is expected to bring strong winds, with a chance of damage to buildings, power cuts and travel problems.
The Met Office has predicted the winds will hit Northern Ireland at about 3pm on Tuesday, with a yellow warning for all of England and Wales and some parts of Scotland from 9pm.
The warnings remain in force until Wednesday.
Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: “The strong north-westerly winds will also affect south-west Scotland late on Tuesday, spreading across much of England and Wales through Wednesday.
“Gusts of 50-55mph are likely inland and up to 65mph along western coasts. Winds will gradually ease during the afternoon.”
Gusts could even reach 80mph along coasts in Northern Ireland, the Met Office said.
A yellow weather warning for rain is also in place in parts of northern England on Thursday and Friday.
The storm, caused by a deep area of low pressure, was named by Met Eireann, the Irish weather service, and is the third named storm this year after Storm Erik in February and Freya earlier this month.