'Danger to life' warning as 80mph winds to sweep UK causing travel chaos ahead of white Christmas

19 December 2023, 13:03

Strong winds are expected before a White Christmas
Strong winds are expected before a White Christmas. Picture: Alamy/Met Office

By Emma Soteriou

A "danger to life" warning has been issued as 80mph winds sweep the UK ahead of a white Christmas.

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Brits have been warned to brace for strong winds on Thursday, with travel disruption and "chance of injuries" expected just days before Christmas.

Large swathes of northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to be impacted by winds of up to 80mph.

The extreme weather is set to cause delays and cancellations across road, rail, air and ferry services.

There is also a chance of damage to buildings and power cuts.

The Met Office warned that a danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts and coastal roads too.

Read more: White Christmas 'highly likely', Met Office predicts in fresh festive forecast

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A Met Office spokesperson said: "It's across northern parts that we're going to see the strongest winds.

"Across northern areas, 50 to 60 miles per hour winds are quite likely.

"Even perhaps 70 to 80 in some exposed spots over the higher ground.

"Also in the east we're going to see some strong gusty winds, perhaps 60 to 70 miles per hour affecting parts such as the Pennines around York and Sheffield.

"We could have some pretty strong winds as we go through Thursday and it's no surprise that we do have a warning out currently.

"It affects many parts of the UK and is valid for pretty much the whole of Thursday.

"At this time of year many people will be taking to the roads with a lot more travel happening so that could cause some problems."

It comes after the Met Office warned that "wintry showers" would hit the north by the end of the week.

There is also a chance they could continue into next week, increasing the chances of a white Christmas.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Helen Caughey said: "As we begin Christmas Day wintry showers initially feeding in across the north in the colder air mass would technically make it a white Christmas, as we only need to see a single flake falling.

"Elsewhere, while it is likely at first to be mostly dry there is the potential for rain approaching from the west later on.

"As this moves east, we may see rain turning to snow, at least over high ground. It's unlikely that we will see widespread or settling snow giving any proper accumulations.

"Although technically it might be a white Christmas, don't get your hopes up for a picture-perfect white landscape."