Torrential rain to batter UK with amber flood warnings issued

18 December 2020, 10:45

Parts of the UK are being told to brace themselves for torrential rain
Parts of the UK are being told to brace themselves for torrential rain. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Parts of the UK have been told to brace themselves for torrential rain throughout today, with warnings some communities could be cut off by rising flood waters.

An Amber weather warning has been issued by the Met Office for South Wales, where homes are likely to be affected roads left underwater

Disruption to transport services and power lines is also expected in the region from 9am on Friday until Saturday, with a chance of lightning and hail forecast.

A yellow weather warning for rain which could cause some disruption in Cornwall, Devon, and the southern half of Wales is also in place from 7am.

A band of heavy rain and coastal gales is due to hit the South West on Thursday night and persist through Friday.

Elsewhere, there will be some rain concentrated in Aberdeen, but a cloudy outlook with bright spells expected for the rest of the UK.

Temperatures are set to be mild across the country, ranging from around 9C (48F) in the north of Scotland to 13C (55) in Plymouth.

Read more: Hospitals in Wales near full capacity with just 10 critical care beds left

The rain is set to ease over the weekend, leaving bright spells and blustery showers for most places, with the wettest weather staying in western areas.

Mild temperatures in the low teens are also predicted to last throughout the weekend before chillier weather moves in on Sunday night.

Environment Agency executive director of operations John Curtin said teams around the country are prepared for dealing with floods this winter in a Covid-safe way.

Yellow and Amber warnings are in place
Yellow and Amber warnings are in place. Picture: PA
People are being told to brace themselves
People are being told to brace themselves. Picture: PA

But he urged people to check if they are at risk and prepare for potential flooding, to protect precious keepsakes such as old photographs and reduce the mental health impacts of the trauma of being flooded.

He also warned of the challenge of keeping up with the rapidly increasing flood threat posed by climate change.

Will Lang, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office, said that after an unsettled December, with rain and wind continuing into next week, there will be colder, drier weather over Christmas and into the new year.

"Beyond that, though, our longer range forecasts for January and February have been consistently suggesting that wetter, windier and milder conditions are more likely than normal, so that wet weather will return again," he said.

Groundwater levels are slightly above normal and there is not much capacity in the soil to take more rain, leaving the country more "in the gift of the weather going forward", Mr Curtin said.

While the forecast is not certain, it must be taken seriously in case of more wet weather on top of the current conditions, he said.