Met Office issues yellow wind warning as Storm Ellen set to batter UK

21 August 2020, 07:00

Brits are set to be battered by strong winds as forecasters warn of disruption
Brits are set to be battered by strong winds as forecasters warn of disruption. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Forecasters have warned of potential travel disruption and floods as Britain is set to be battered by a swathe of strong winds.

The Met Office has extended a yellow wind warning to cover all of England and Wales as Storm Ellen prepares to batter the country.

The warning is in place from 4am on Friday (August 22) until 6pm the same day.

Gusts of up to 70mph were forecast to batter coastal areas on Thursday night and in the early hours of Friday.

Gusts of 45 to 50mph are forecast for inland areas, reaching up to 60mph around coasts and hills.

The Met Office said strong winds could lead to some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport and possibly some temporary power disruption.

Emergency services have urged the public to take extra care in the windy conditions, particularly along the coast where many people are enjoying August beach breaks.

Met Office meteorologist Emma Salter said it was "unusual" to have such stormy weather this time of year and emphasised its warnings were issued based on the potential impact of conditions.

She said: "If we had this set-up say in January or February we probably wouldn't be issuing a warning, because 40, 50, 60 mphs on the coast isn't going to do much damage."

But she added: "This time of year, when the trees are in full leaf they can be uprooted a lot more easily."

Ms Salter continued: "Corona aside, there's a lot of holidaymakers out, people in tents, it's the weekend, there's going to be a lot of traffic on the road, a lot of people camping... that's why we've got the warning out."

In the south-west, HM Coastguard has warned of "dangerous sea conditions" with "large swells, strong winds & spring tides" expected.

Devon and Cornwall Police warned the public to be wary of "storm conditions" across their region, particularly on the coast where waves could reach up to nine feet high.

The force said strong winds could bring "dangerous seas and strong rip currents" and urged beachgoers to check tide times, stick to life-guarded beaches, be aware watersports may be unsafe and avoid storm watching.

Shortly before midnight on Thursday, the Environment Agency had in place 42 flood alerts and 22 flood warnings, which urge people to take immediate action, largely along the south and south-west coastline of England.

It warned a combination of high spring tides, strong winds and large waves could cause property flooding.

Natural Resources Wales has issued seven flood warnings for the south-west of the country, and urged people to be "vigilant" on the coast due to strong winds and high waves.

Ms Salter said forecasters are generally expected "confused" weather on Friday with a mixture of "on-off sunshine and showers" across the country.

"The showers are going to blow through quite quickly, so wherever it starts raining it's going to be like a short, sharp, heavens open downpour and then it will roll away quite quickly," she said.

Temperatures could reach a maximum of 24 or 25C in London, and up to 20 or 21C in Newcastle, 22C in Manchester and 20C in Aberdeen.