Heavy rain and winds of up to 50mph are set to batter the UK this week as forecasters warn some homes and businesses could be flooded.
The Met Office issued three yellow warnings for “persistent heavy rain” in Wales, western England, and south-west Scotland on Tuesday evening (10 January), while an alert for “strong winds” covered the Northern Isles overnight.
A yellow warning for wind is currently in place over the islands north of Scotland with disruption to public transport, likely. The national forecaster warned “some coastal communities will be affected by spray and large waves”.
The warning is in force until 10am on Wednesday (11 January) and wind speeds are predicted to reach up to 50mph within the first few hours of this window.
More wet and windy weather is also on the way for south Wales and south-west England, with a yellow rain warning covering these regions for 20 hours from 9pm on Wednesday.
The Met Office said the hamlet of Seathwaite in Cumbria had experienced the most rain so far on Tuesday, with 73mm recorded as of 3.30pm. This was followed by Capel Curig in Gwynedd, Wales, which was hit by 44mm in the same period.
More than 160 flood warnings issued across Britain
The Environment Agency, which covers England, has issued 28 flood warnings, mostly clustered in Dorset where flooding is “expected”. It has also issued 97 alerts across the country, where flooding is “possible”.
More than 160 flood warnings have also been issued across Britain by environment regulators. Saturated ground caused by recent wet weather means that even areas which avoid the worst of this week’s deluge could be at risk of flooding.
Staff from the agency have been erecting flood barriers at several of the most at-risk scenes, including in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley, which has previously experienced flooding from the River Severn.
Meanwhile, Natural Resources Wales has issued 34 “flood alerts” across the same areas covered by the Met Office warnings. It issued one more serious “flood warning” for properties near the River Vyrnwy on the border with Shropshire.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has issued six flood alerts across south-west Scotland, covering Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire and Arran, Central Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders and West Central Scotland.
‘Urge drivers to be on guard’
RAC Breakdown has advised motorists to “be on their guard” during the wet weather by driving slowly. It advises drivers to leave a large space between their vehicle and those ahead.
Rod Dennis, a spokesman for the vehicle repair and insurance company, said: “Rain now appears to be a constant feature of January’s weather, so we urge drivers to be on their guard. The dangers of driving in freezing conditions are well known, but it’s easy to underestimate the risk that rain, especially heavy downpours, presents.
“It’s vital people slow down, leave a much larger space between their vehicle and the one in front, and avoid driving through standing water. Anyone driving through even very shallow water at speed risks losing control of their vehicle in what is known as aquaplaning, something which drastically increases the chances of an accident.”
For those worried about damage to their home, the National Flood Forum recommends finding out how to turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies, and keeping a list of useful contacts including for your GP and insurance company.
The charity advises taking detailed photographs of your property before a flood occurs as evidence for any insurance claims. In the event of a flood check on neighbours who could be elderly, disabled or have young children.
Forbes Advisor, a price comparison and financial guidance platform, advises checking gutters and that drains are clear of obstructions so that any excess water can escape. It also recommends assessing garden trees for any branches which could fall in windy weather, and keeping an eye on official flood warnings for your area.