Storm Francis expected to batter Britain with 70mph winds and heavy rain

24 August 2020, 16:17

People have been warned to prepare for an 'unseasonably wet and windy spell' later this week. File pic.
People have been warned to prepare for an 'unseasonably wet and windy spell' later this week. File pic. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Storm Francis is expected to hit the UK later this week with gusts of wind up to 70mph in an "unseasonably wet and windy spell".

Reaching the west coast in the early hours of Tuesday, a wind warning will remain in place across all of Wales and most of England until the following day.

Two heavy rain warnings will also be in place for southern Scotland, north Wales and northern England.

Rain is expected to be heaviest in Northern Ireland and south western Scotland, where up to 90mm could be expected.

The Met Office's Nicola Maxey stressed the unseasonal timing of the weather event as two storms - following Ellen last week - have now been named this month.

She said: "Since 2015 when we started naming storms, we have never had to name a storm in August - and now we've had two in a few days."

Holidaymakers in the UK who are going camping or on walking breaks have been advised to check the Met Office's website before setting out this week, especially if travelling to coastal areas, where conditions are expected to be worse.

Drivers, too, have been placed on alert, with RAC Breakdown warning of potential localised flooding and fallen branches hindering travel times.

Company spokesman Rod Dennis said drivers "must be on their guard" as road travel this week could be "anything but plain sailing".

He added: "We advise making sure cars are road-ready by checking tyres, oil and coolant levels in particular - and staying tuned to local weather forecasts.

"Never attempt to drive through floods unless you are sure the water is shallow enough for you to make it through."

The RNLI has also issued a warning for people near coastlines alongside a reminder to not enter the water when a red flag is flying.

Despite the unusual strength of the storm in August, there is still a large target to reach to break the 87mph record set in The Needles on the Isle of Wight in August 1996.

The wettest August on record in the UK was also in 1912, which saw a total of 167.3mm falling nationwide.

There has been a total of 72.7mm of rainfall recorded so far this month, which is four-fifths the average rainfall for August.

It comes after Storm Ellen last week left two people dead in its wake, including a 15-year-old girl, Nicola Williams, who was swept away by the Rhymney River in Llanrumney, Cardiff.

A 50-year-old holidaymaker also died in the sea near Helston, west Cornwall.

READ MORE: Sixty-six mph winds hit Wales as Storm Ellen batters Britain and Ireland

After arriving on Tuesday, Storm Francis will clear again by the following lunchtime, and is expected to be the last storm of the month.

This means the next named storm will begin with an "A" rather than a "G" as the naming calendar resets on 1 September.

The upcoming bank holiday weekend is expected to be a mixture of sunshine and some scattered showers, the Met Office has said.