Following the mild weather that gave people the UK’s warmest New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on record, Met Office forecasters have predicted heavy thunderstorms in parts of southern England and Wales, and strong wind and snow in northern Scotland.
The weather service has said that the fast-moving thunderstorms could result in sudden flooding, lightning strikes and possible “localised disruption”, and that the snow and wind could cause “difficult driving conditions”.
This is what you need to know.
What weather warnings are in place?
A Met Office yellow weather warning for thunderstorms is in place across southern England and Wales until 2 Sunday at 6pm.
The weather warning covers the east of England, London and the south-east, south-west England and parts of Wales, with other affected areas including the likes of Brighton, Portsmouth, Bath, Cardiff, Oxford and Norwich.
The Met Office states: “A band of heavy showers and thunderstorms will move quickly eastwards today, giving a period of intense rain and perhaps 15-20mm of rain in a few places in an hour or less.
“These may be accompanied by lightning, hail and strong winds, with a low risk that some places could see gusts of 50mph.”
Warnings for wind and snow are also in place for northern Scotland on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 January.
The Met Office warning says: “Frequent snow showers and gusts to severe gale force are expected on Tuesday, leading to travel disruption, particularly for higher routes.”
Angus, Grampian, Highlands and Eilean Siar, plus Orkney and Shetland are among the areas that could be affected.
Areas above 200 metres could be among the worst affected, with the snowfall possibly reaching 10-15cm in places.
The weather warning adds: “In combination with winds gusting 50 to 60mph, perhaps 70mph on exposed summits, temporary blizzard conditions and some drifting of snow on higher-level routes is likely.
“Gusts of around 70mph on exposed coasts will generate some large waves and dangerous coastal conditions in a few places.”
There are also flood warnings in place for England, via the Environmental Agency, Scotland, via the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Wales, via Natural Resources Wales.
What should we be prepared for?
In regards to the yellow thunderstorm warning in England and Wales, the Met Office says that you should expect the following:
- Spray and sudden flooding which could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures
- A slight chance of power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses
- The chance of delays and cancellations to train and bus services due to potential flooding and lightning strikes
- A slight chance of some damage to trees and buildings, such as fallen branches and tiles blown from roofs
For those in Scotland, the yellow wind and snow warning means that you should be prepared for:
- Difficult driving conditions at times on higher routes
- Bus, ferry and possibly train services to be affected, with journeys either cancelled or delayed
- Potential delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges
- Coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities to potentially be affected by spray and/or large waves
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