Hello, autumn! Britain to be hit by 70mph gales this week

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Hello, autumn! Britain to be hit by 70mph gales this week

Britain is bracing itself for gale-force winds as weather forecasters predict gusts of up to 70mph by Monday, leaving summer's glorious heatwave a distant memory.

The Great North Run was hit by strong gusts of wind today as stormy conditions roll in across much of the UK, heralding the beginning of autumn.

As some 55,000 people set off on the half-marathon in Newcastle, winds in the area got up to 40mph.

Nick Prebble, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It's looking pretty grim and not ideal conditions for running, with heavy rain and strong winds at times.

"For the rest of the country, you'll be lucky to escape any rain on Sunday and we could see pretty high rainfall totals in Scotland, Wales, north-west England and Northern Ireland."

Western areas of Scotland are expected to see the worst rain of the day, with 30mm to 40mm falling in some places. It will also bear the brunt of the windy conditions, with Northern Ireland and Cumbria, with some tree branches expected to be brought down by the gusts.

Gusts of 50 to 60mph have been predicted, with the potential to reach even higher speeds over exposed coasts and hills.

The rest of the UK is expected to see cool, cloudy and windy conditions, with no signs of a return of any sunshine.

Temperatures will reach 15C to 16C across England and Wales and 13C to 14C in Scotland, with a wind chill expected to make it feel much cooler.

The Met Office said it had issued severe weather warnings for the gales in Scotland and Northern Ireland for Sunday and the public should be aware of the potential for some minor disruption to travel.

Chief forecaster Paul Gundersen said: "A spell of gale force westerly winds is expected later Sunday, peaking on Monday across much of Scotland, the north of Northern Ireland and coasts of north west England and north Wales. Gusts of 50 to 60mph are likely, with the potential for 70mph across exposed coasts and hills of Scotland.

"The public should be aware of the potential for some minor disruption to travel and keep up to date with the latest weather forecast information."

Conditions are expected to remain unsettled into next week, with sunshine and showers forecast along with the risk of thunder.

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