March blows in a storm: torrential rain and gale force winds on the way

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March blows in a storm: torrential rain and gale force winds on the wayPA

The weather forecast for the UK makes some grim reading, with plummeting temperatures and heavy rain, gales and fierce storms for the next two days, say forecasters.

Travel chaos on rail and road is being predicted as the weather system takes hold.

The Met Office says that more heavy rain is due to hit Scotland and Northern Ireland, spreading to England today (Wednesday).

More than 36 hours of almost constant rain has already fallen in Norfolk, which saw 55mm of rain, while 30mm fell across Kent and Lincolnshire. Parts of East Anglia experienced 12 hours of continuous rainfall.

Severe gale gusts of 57mph were recorded in Norfolk, with similar gusts in exposed parts of the south east.

Helen Chivers from the Met Office said: "These areas have been dry for up to a year, so the rain is welcome."

But while the rain and winds may be needed in drought-ridden England, commuters and travellers faced a battle. Many roads became submerged in floodwater in East Anglia, while trees and branches felled by near gale-force winds, rain and sleet brought roads to a halt.

Drivers are being warned of extremely slippery roads and snow on high grounds, and the wintery weather was believed to be responsible for a number of crashes on the M40 in Oxfordshire.

After last weekend's record 17C highs, the strong northerly winds hitting much of the country meant temperatures well below freezing.

All of which makes the unseasonably mild weather of just a few days ago seem like a dream. But if you need to get away now, here are a few suggestions. We can but wish....

Best warm and sunny holidays for March

Best warm and sunny holidays for March