Revellers braved the elements as they descended onto the streets of London and Manchester tonight and prepared to enjoy their first Friday night since lockdown rules were relaxed to allow people inside pubs and bars.
Party-goers appeared in hight spirits as they swapped a night in at home to hit the numerous bars in the country’s cities and prepared to celebrate with their friends into the small hours.
The scenes came after pubs and bars in England were allowed to open their indoor seating areas and welcomed back groups of up to six people, or two households.
Despite the wind and rain, jubilant revellers were spotted covering their head with their jackets as they enjoyed their first Friday night out in Manchester city centre since the latest easing of lockdown rules.
Meanwhile in Soho, central London, pub-goers sat outside the capital’s numerous bars and restaurants despite the heavy downpours.
Revellers braved the wind and rain as they walking into Manchester city centre and prepared to enjoy their first Friday night since lockdown rules were relaxed to allow people inside at pubs and bars
Pub-goers sat outside the numerous bars, pubs and restaurants in London’s Soho tonight despite the wind and heavy rain
Revellers celebrated with their friends after pubs and bars in England were allowed to open their indoor seating areas and welcomed back groups of up to six people, or two households
A young woman holds her jacket above her head as she swaps a night in at home to hit the numerous bars in the city
The latest restrictions lift also means the return of small in-home meetings and groups of up to 30 people can now meet outdoors in England and Scotland.
Hugging is also permitted between close family and friends across the UK, except in Northern Ireland, where they remain in place until at least May 24.
Other recreational venues such as cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to reopen, although there will be capacity limits on large events.
Speaking before the restrictions were eased, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged families to adopt a ‘heavy dose of caution’ when enjoying their new found freedom in a bid to prevent a spike in new Covid cases.
Last night, revellers cross the country were spotted braving the rain in their hordes as they enjoyed their new freedom by toasting the return of pubs and restaurants.
Pictures showed people flocking to pubs and bars while doing their best to avoid the downpours of rain with some desperately held pieces of clothing over their heads.
Drinkers hit the streets in Newcastle, London, Leeds and other cities across the UK to see their friends after months of lockdown.
It came despite the Met Office issuing a yellow weather warning and predicted gusts of up to 60mph in Wales and southern England.
Earlier today, a canoeist died after getting into difficulty in a fast-flowing river amid UK-wide weather alerts from the Met Office that warned the country faced strong winds, thunderstorms and flash floods over the weekend.
The body of a man, who has not been identified by the emergency services, was found washed up downstream from the River Ure near the village of Nunwick, in North Yorkshire.
The news came amid fresh fears that gale force winds, thunderstorms and flash floods could ensure the national weather misery continues into Saturday and Sunday.
Hundreds of homes have also been left without power as the nation was battered by 85mph gusts and will brace itself for a weekend washout and further chaos.
As the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for strong winds on Friday in south-east England – stretching from Norwich to Southampton – the Royal National Lifeboat Institution advised people to stay out of the water after dramatic footage emerged of a Welsh surfer being rescued.
Revellers shelter themselves from the rain in Soho, central London, as hundreds across the country enjoy their Friday night out
A group of friends sit outside a restaurant in London as revellers in London and Manchester prepared to enjoy their first Friday night since lockdown rules were relaxed to allow people inside at pubs and bars
A woman protects herself from the rain with an umbrella as people across the capital decided to celebrate a night out
Revellers wear their jackets as they sit outside a bar in Soho, central London, and enjoyed their first Friday night out since the latest easing of lockdown rules
Despite the win and rain, pub-goers took the the capital’s numerous bars and restaurants to enjoy a Friday night out
The latest restrictions lift also means the return of small in-home meetings and groups of up to 30 people can now meet outdoors in England and Scotland
Experts have warned the miserable weather looks set to continue with the wettest parts of the UK likely to be parts of Wales, especially over the higher ground, as well as Cumbria where 24-hour totals will exceed 50mm (2 inches) and could even reach 100mm (4 inches) on some of the exposed hills.
Domestic holiday hotspots in the South West have been deluged by downpours amid one of their rainiest Mays on record – with meteorologists warning the UK has already seen 131 per cent of its usual May rainfall.
At least one confirmed casualty has been reported in the wake of today’s torrential downpours, which saw 80mph gale force winds strike towns across the UK.
A canoeist was confirmed dead after North Yorkshire Police received a report of two people who had got into difficulties in the River Ure, near West Tanfield, north of Ripon, at 11.15am.
A spokesman said one of the men managed the get out of the water and a full search, which included a police helicopter, was mounted for the second.
He said the aircraft crew found the other man’s body further downstream, near the village of Nunwick as rivers in the area rose in recent days following persistent showers.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘Sadly, the body of another man was located by an NPAS police aircraft, in the river north-west of Nunwick. His family have been informed.’
Met Office meteorologist Annie Shuttleworth said the UK as a whole has seen 131 per cent of the usual month’s rainfall already, as the south-west of the nation being among the worst hit today.
Ms Shuttleworth said: ‘We have seen a lot of rain in Devon and Wales over the past week.
‘They have seen well above those average in those sorts of regions.
‘But there is a good deal of uncertainty in the forecast, so we’re hoping by the end of May we will have much drier and more settled weather across the UK.
‘If this drier weather does come in, it looks like it will scupper any rainfall carrying on and accumulating as it has at this point in the month.’
Forecasters have urged homeowners to tie down outdoor furniture amid concern that temporary structures could be affected, such as marquees set up as Covid vaccination centres and pergolas in pub beer gardens. Pictured: Car damaged by a falling tree in Dorchester
Unsettled conditions are set to continue throughout the weekend. Pictured: Waves crash against the harbour wall in Folkestone, Kent
The QE2 bridge in Kent was closed for more than three hours due to strong winds, causing huge queues of traffic
However, with an average 91.2mm across the nation so far, the UK is well off hitting the record 131.7mm recorded in May 1967.
The unpredictable late spring weather has left nearly 600 homes near Swansea, 100 near Leicester and over 200 near Leeds without electricity after howling winds brought trees crashing down on to power cables.
The Met Office has warned that the miserable weather will continue with the wettest parts of the UK likely to be parts of Wales, especially over the higher ground, as well as Cumbria where 24-hour totals will exceed 50mm (2 inches) and could even reach 100mm (4 inches) on some of the exposed hills.
There are currently six flood alerts in place across the UK with a yellow wind warning for southern England and most of Wales, issued by the Met Office at 3pm yesterday, remaining as the fierce gusts sweep eastwards.
The low pressure system crossing the country is expected to head out into the North Sea tonight – leaving showers for the weekend.
Forecasters have urged homeowners to tie down outdoor furniture amid concern that temporary structures could be affected, such as marquees set up as Covid vaccination centres and pergolas in pub beer gardens.
As more rain and gale-force winds are forecast for the weekend, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) released dramatic footage of a surfer being rescued nearby the seaside resort of Trearddur Bay in Anglesey, Wales.
The footage shows the crew returning to shore after braving giant waves rallied by 50mph winds to rescue the casualty, who had drifted dangerously close to rocks on Thursday evening.
RNLI Helm, Lee Duncan, said the rescue was the closest call he has seen in his two decades working on the bay.
Mr Helm said: ‘The conditions were treacherous with a strong south-westerly blowing in excess of 50mph, we were operating right at the limit of the Atlantic 85 lifeboat.
‘I think in my 20 years on the crew at Trearddur Bay that was possibly the most touch and go shout I have been on.’
Volunteer crew member Daf Griffiths added: ‘We knew that we had only one chance to get her with the size of the waves hitting the headland, had we failed, I don’t like to think what could have happened, to her or us.’
Needles, on the Isle of Wight, overnight recorded wind speeds of 85 mph with Pembry Sands, Dyfed, also bearing the brunt of the storm as it battled 73mph gusts.
Met Office Meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: ‘A slow moving area of low pressure will bring further unsettled weather during Friday and the start of the weekend.
‘There is a risk of disruption from the wind in the south west of England and parts of Wales as well with a yellow warning in place.
‘There is also some strength to the winds elsewhere in the UK even if the gusts will be a little below 50mph.
‘The wettest weather will be across parts of Wales especially over the higher ground as well as Cumbria where 24-hour totals will exceed 50mm and probably reaching 100mm on some of the exposed hills.
‘Spells of rain as well for eastern Scotland, north east England and northern Ireland – slightly drier for parts of East Anglia in the south east.
A woman tries to use an umbrella to shield herself from rain as strong winds hit the United Kingdom’s capital earlier today
Pictured: Walkers battle rain and high winds in Bushy Park, in Teddington, London, as much of the UK continues to experience cold and wet weather
The Met Office is warning of travel disruption, a risk tree of branches being toppled by the winds and a danger of temporary structures such as outdoor gazebos being blown away. Pictured: Fallen trees in Dulwich (left) and Bermondsey (right)
Visitors lean into the strong gusty wind as gale-force gusts and the stormy seas battered the coastline today at Portland Bill in Dorset
The unpredictable late spring weather has brought severe downpours and gale force winds. Pictured: People walk in rainy conditions near Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire
The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning at 3pm on Thursday which is in place until 9pm this evening (left). There are also six flood alerts in place (right) – an alert advises residents that flooding is possible and to ‘be alert’
Needles, on the Isle of Wight, overnight recorded wind speeds of 85 mph with Pembry Sands, Dyfed, also bearing the brunt of the storm as it battled 73mph gusts. Pictured: Woman buffeted by the wind in central London, with wind and rain forecast to ravage the UK
The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning at 3pm on Thursday which is in place until 9pm this evening as winds could gust at speeds of up to 60mph along coasts. Pictured: Rough seas near to Clarence Pier in Southsea, Hampshire
‘But its going to be windy everywhere and cloudy for most and so those temperatures aren’t going to drop far fro 9 to 11C.
‘The rain will reach the south east by the end of the afternoon. It will stay dull and damp for most of the day.’
The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning at 3pm on Thursday which is in place until 9pm this evening as winds could gust at speeds of up to 60mph along coasts and on high ground with maximum speeds of 50mph are expected inland and at lower levels.
It is warning of travel disruption, a risk tree of branches being toppled by the winds and a danger of temporary structures such as outdoor gazebos being blown away.
There are also six flood alerts in place – an alert advises residents that flooding is possible – as experts fear flash flooding could be on the cards for parts of the country ahead of a weekend washout.
Lifeguards have urged dogwalkers to take care when walking near cliffs, including keeping their pets on a lead and bringing fully-charged phones with them.
The RNLI has recommended that anyone who does enter the sea checks tide times daily and ensures any equipment and lifejackets are in full working order beforehand.
Pictured: Family buffeted by the wind whilst crossing the the Millennium Bridge in London with wind and rain forecast to ravage the UK on the first Friday that people have been allowed to meet in large groups outside in England
Pictured: Waves crash against a DFDS ferry as it arrives at the Port of Dover in Kent with wind and rain forecast to ravage the UK on the first Friday that people have been allowed to meet in large groups outside in England
Pictured: Woman buffeted by the wind whilst crossing the Westminster Bridge, London, with wind and rain forecast to ravage the UK on the first Friday
There is still a yellow weather warning in place for southern England and most of Wales, issued by the Met Office at 3pm yesterday, as the fierce gusts sweep eastwards. Pictured: People buffeted by the wind whilst crossing the Millenium Bridge, London, this morning
Bouts of heavy rain and winds of up to 60mph are continuing to batter Britain today as the unpredictable late spring weather continues. Pictured: High seas battered the Newhaven lighthouse and harbour in East Sussex
Pictured: Walker passes Bushy House amid rain and high winds in Bushy Park, Teddington, London, as much of the UK continues to experience cold and wet weather
Unsettled conditions will continue through the weekend. Pictured: People brave a walk along the sea front in Southsea, Hampshire, today
Pictured: Huge breaking waves crash against Pulpit Rock as gale force winds and stormy seas batter the coastline at Portland Bill in Dorset
Pictured: People take a selfie on the Millennium Bridge in London, with wind and rain forecast to ravage the UK on the first Friday that people have been allowed to meet in large groups outside in England
Hundreds of homes have been left without power after 85mph gales struck the UK overnight ahead of a weekend washout as four inches of rain threaten flash floods and strong winds look set to bring more chaos. Pictured: People buffeted by the wind whilst crossing the Millenium Bridge, London, this morning
The wild weather is expected to cause travel chaos with delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport likely.
Unsettled conditions will continue through the weekend, but there is a sign of drier conditions to come from next Tuesday – with temperatures expected to starting to climb towards more typical average for the time of year.
This month’s miserable weather means it could be on course to beat the record for the wettest May, dating back to 1967, when 131.7mm (5.2in) of rain fell across the UK.
At the beginning of the week, it was revealed that Britain had already received 102 per cent of the rain expected for the month, with 71mm (2.8in) falling on average.
More heavy rain and even hail fell on Tuesday, with another 16mm (0.6in) recorded over 12 hours in Goudhurst, Kent.
WIND POWER GENERATION REACHES RECORD LEVELS, EARLY DATA SHOWS
Howling gales which battered Britain on Friday appear to have had an unwitting benefit – a record breaking contribution to wind power generation.
Provisional data from the National Grid shows that wind was contributing 62.5% to Britain’s electricity mix between 2am and 3am on Friday.
The previous record, set in August 2020 when Storm Ellen was hitting the UK, was a 59.9% contribution.
In fact the provisional data suggests there were several times between Thursday evening and the early hours of Friday when wind power generation made a contribution of at least 60%.
A National Grid spokesman said: ‘Today’s wind share record is the latest to illustrate how Britain is changing the way it is powered.
‘Reduced reliance on coal and an increase in energy coming from zero carbon sources is a trend we expect to continue as we move towards our ambition of being able to operate the system carbon free by 2025.’
It came as a Met Office yellow warning for wind remained in place across Wales and southern England.