St Jude Storm To Hit UK

storm

The worst storm for more than five years is expected to arrive in the UK on Sunday night.

While the exact path of the storm is unclear, forecasters are already predicting winds of up to 80mph and very heavy rain.

The extreme conditions could lead to severe flooding, disruption to travel networks, and fallen trees and power lines.

Here is a round-up of all the latest on what is being called the ‘St Jude storm’, after the patron saint of lost causes, whose feast date is on Monday.

Two warnings have been issued by the Met Office.

An amber warning, meaning “be prepared”, has been issued for the southern half of England and the southern half of Wales.

A yellow warning, meaning “be aware”, applies to rest of Wales and England up to the border with Scotland.

– The Environment Agency has warned of surface water flooding across most of England. Up to 25mm of rain could fall in just six hours.

– The first strong winds are likely to hit south-west England on Sunday night, with gusts of 75-80mph. The storm is predicted to then move north-eastwards, with winds of 60-70mph in the Midlands and East Anglia. Northern England and North Wales could see winds of 50-60mph.

– The Met Office is urging people to keep up with forecasts every few hours, as it is still unclear over when and where the storm might strike.

Steve Willington, chief forecaster, said: “We are talking about a storm which doesn’t yet exist, so there remains some uncertainty about its possible timing, track and strength. However, several forecast models currently suggest we will see a significant storm with exceptionally strong winds impacting parts of England and Wales.

“This is a developing situation and we’d advise people to stay up to date with our forecasts and warnings over the weekend, and be prepared to change their plans if necessary. We’ll continue to work closely with authorities and emergency services to ensure they are aware of the expected conditions.”

– The police are urging people to avoid calling 999 during the storm unless there is a real emergency.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said they expected “increases in demand brought about by high winds in the next few days.” He reminded people to dial 101 for all routine enquiries. “Calling 999 when it is not an emergency can reduce our effectiveness at dealing with genuine emergencies,” he added.

Ferry services have already been cancelled for Sunday and Monday between Plymouth and Roscoff, and between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

Brittany Ferries, which runs the Plymouth-Roscoff route, said on its website: “We are in the process of contacting all passengers booked on these sailings. We apologise for the inconvenience the cancellation of these services will cause.”

– The AA is warning of disruption on many roads on Monday morning.

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s flood rescue team, said: “If the predicted storm strikes, the timing couldn’t really be worse, potentially causing significant travel disruption on Monday morning, which is one of the busiest times on the roads.

“Strong wind and torrential rain is an unpredictable and hazardous combination, which can be quite overwhelming when you’re driving.

“There’s likely to be tree and other debris on the roads as well potential flooding, so it’s very important to keep your speed down and drive with great care, particularly on country roads early on Monday morning when it’s still dark.”

Home insurers are already bracing themselves for the prospect of a high number of storm damage claims.

Claire Foster of Direct Line said: “We take the current severe weather and flood warnings extremely seriously and have put our emergency action plans into place.

“We have people on the ground and on the phones ready to help customers make a claim. Our priority is reassuring householders with Direct Line home insurance policies and getting them back in their home as quickly as possible.”

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