Britain braced for a battering as storm brews off coast

Author: By Laura May, Press Association

Weather experts are advising those planning Saturday shopping trips and days
out to postpone them and stay indoors as Britain is buffeted by winds of up
to 70mph.

The winds will be strong enough to cause damage, including bringing down trees
and branches, say forecasters.

And commuters hoping for a let-up in the rain today to help them make a quick
getaway back home will be disappointed as the current downpours across the
country are set to continue throughout the day.

Later on, we could see strong winds starting to develop, with gusts of between
30 and 40 mph in London and up to 60 mph in areas of west Wales.

There could be some let-up in the rain and winds on Sunday but the storm is
due to give us another battering on Monday, posing the risk of disruption to
the return to work after the weekend.

Stephen Davenport, of Meteogroup UK, said that while it will dry up overnight,
the rain will begin again in the early hours.

“It is pretty filthy weather already and it is only going to get worse
tomorrow. The real meat of the storm is coming overnight.

“There will be a gradual build-up, with the peak of the winds being felt in
the south west in the early hours before the storm shifts north-eastwards.”

“This is the strongest storm we have had this year but it is just an autumnal
storm, not untypical for this time of year.”

The storm is developing off the west coast of the country and is being fed by
the still-warm autumn sea temperatures, he said.

Met Office chief forecaster, Bob Wilderspin, said: “We are expecting severe
weather over the next few days.”

He added that forecasters will be monitoring the situation and updating
weather reports so people are advised to keep an eye on forecasts for more
information.

There is also a risk of flooding in certain areas. An Environment Agency
spokesman said: “We are likely to issue flood watches and flood warnings on
Friday and Saturday, particularly across South Wales and the south west of
England.”

The wild weather has already caused disruption in some areas of the country.
Passengers faced delays and cancellations after the heavy rain caused rocks
to slide on to rail tracks, closing a busy line.

More than a tonne of rubble is believed to have fallen in the Chepstow area of
south east Wales.

Services running between Newport and Gloucester were affected, along with
cross-country trains between Nottingham and Cardiff.

A spokesman for Network Rail said “adverse weather conditions” were
responsible for the rock fall and normal services were unlikely to resume
until 3pm today at the earliest.

“It is not currently known how long this disruption will last,” he said.

In the meantime, buses are replacing trains between Gloucester and Newport and
trains between Nottingham and Cardiff Central will only run as far as
Gloucester.

Rail passengers were advised to check with National Rail Enquiries –
www.nationalrail.co.uk or 08457 48 49 50 – or the train operator before they
travel.

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