Parts of Britain face wind gusts of up to 70mph and a fortnight’s worth of rain tomorrow amid further snow and ice as what could be the country’s second named storm of the season sweeps in.
Western England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will bear the brunt of the gales throughout tomorrow night and into Thursday, with 55mph gusts possible in inland areas and exposed coastal parts seeing 70mph.
The South West could also see up to 2.4in (60mm) of rain fall in as little as six hours tomorrow. The strong winds due from 2pm tomorrow may affect road, rail, air and ferry transport and could also cause some power cuts.
There is also a further rain warning in place from Thursday through to Saturday for South East England, with up to 70mm (2.8in) of rain expected over the three-day period, and up to 1.2in (30mm) in six hours.
Depending on how much disruption is caused, the low pressure system tomorrow could be given the name Storm Brendan. It follows Storm Atiyah on December 8 to 9, which brought winds of up to 83mph and heavy rain.
Snow in the Scottish Highlands today at the Clava Cairns stone circle overlooking Inverness this morning
Snow is pictured on the mountains at Grassmere in the Lake District today as the country faces further severe conditions
Meanwhile forecasters warned motorists of foggy conditions across northern England and the West Midlands this morning, with particularly dense fog in Lincolnshire and the Vale of York.
The Met Office has also imposed a snow and ice warning in the Scottish Highlands today – while there is still a risk of flooding across England, with 104 flood alerts and 11 warnings imposed by the Environment Agency.
But Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said the rough weather is expected to ease off by next week, with a return to mild, wet and windy weather on the cards over the coming days.
He added: ‘Calmer weather is coming, with temperatures rising over the next couple of days in the build-up to Christmas. Christmas Day will most likely be cold and dry with milder than average conditions expected.’
This morning’s forecast is for snow and ice in northern Scotland (left), but much of the country should be dry today (right)
Met Office weather warnings are in place for northern Scotland today (left) and western Britain for tomorrow (right)
Ahead of the low pressure, rain is due to clear from the South East today, followed by sunny intervals. Isolated showers are possible in the North. Similar weather is expected tomorrow after a chilly start with fog and frost.
The rain is due to move north and east from tomorrow night. The weather system could be named a storm by the time it hits the UK depending upon its impact in the Republic of Ireland, where it is due to arrive first.
The weather system is set to be followed by sunshine and showers on Thursday, followed by another band of rain on Thursday night into Friday.
Matthew Box, spokesman for the Met Office, said: ‘We have an area of low pressure coming in from the west, which is going to cause strengthening winds from Wednesday afternoon.
Geraint Stone pulls his son Arthur on his sledge across the snow-covered lawn at Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside yesterday
A view of snow covered fields from the A689 near Kilhope in County Durham yesterday
‘We are going to see some gales, especially around the coasts, and rainfall of 10-15mm (0.39-0.59ins) could be quite widespread. Locally, some areas could receive 30mm (1.18ins) of rain.’
There is still a risk of flooding across England, with 104 flood alerts and 11 warnings imposed by the Environment Agency
Unsettled conditions are set to continue into the weekend but temperatures are due to turn milder, with highs of 13C (55F). Mr Box said it is too early to predict the weather for Christmas but an unsettled outlook is expected.
Bookmakers predict Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the place most likely to have a white Christmas in England and Wales, with odds of 3/1 for snow on Christmas Day. Shorter odds are offered in Scotland.
The Met Office said in its forecast for the rest of the month: ‘Saturday will probably remain unsettled in the north, but persistent rain tending to be replaced by more showery conditions.
‘The south should begin fine, though heavy rain and strong winds will arrive later on. Thereafter, it will remain milder and unsettled again as further bands of rain and strong winds edge in from the west.
‘Changeable and sometimes windy conditions will probably last for the rest of the period. Most of the rain will probably be in the west with drier spells more likely in the East and South East.
‘Snow may occur at times in the North, mainly on high ground. There remains a chance that more settled, brighter conditions may push in towards the end of this period, leading to slightly colder than average temperatures.’
The average monthly rainfall for December in the UK is about five inches (120mm).
Shocking moment father and son are nearly swept away by storm waves which engulfed their car
This is the moment a father and son were nearly swept away by storm waves which engulfed their car.
Guy Broster, 46, was driving his son Luke, 19, to a sports match along a seaside road near the village of Allonby in Cumbria on Saturday afternoon when waves started to batter the car.
Computing teacher Mr Broster persisted with his journey – until the Vauxhall Meriva plunged into a huge puddle, and dashcam footage shows water slamming the car.
A father and son were nearly swept away by storm waves which engulfed their car near the village of Allonby in Cumbria on Saturday
The Vauxhall Meriva plunged into a huge puddle on Saturday afternoon, and dashcam footage shows water slamming the car
Mr Broster, from Maryport, Cumbria, hit reverse – and ‘got the hell out of there’ before his car was damaged for good. He said: ‘In retrospect, it was a foolish thing to do as the power of the waves could easily have swept us out to sea.
‘I regretted my decision early on but I carried on, assuming it would be OK – until I spied ahead that water was rushing over the sea defences. The car started making noises suggesting that the water was getting too deep.
‘So I hit reverse and got the hell out of Dodge. And those waves also regularly throw up driftwood and rocks. But at the time I genuinely didn’t think about it – I was concentrating on getting my son to his rugby match on time.’
The incident was filmed at 12.45pm on Saturday when Guy was driving from Maryport to Silloth in Cumbria, to a rugby game. He said he had assumed ‘driving through the waves would be like driving through the spray of a passing truck’.
Guy Broster, 46, was driving his son Luke, 19, to a sports match along a seaside road near the village of Allonby in Cumbria on Saturday
The incident was filmed at 12.45pm on Saturday when Guy was driving from Maryport to Silloth in Cumbria, to a rugby game
Five sheepdogs waded through flood water to save 80 sheep from drowning
This is the moment five fearless sheepdogs waded through flood water to save nearly 80 sheep from drowning.
A video shows four tough border collies and one New Zealand huntaway swimming through strong currents to round-up the flock.
The sheepdogs – Bee, Ghost, Blaze, Jack, and Kea – worked tirelessly for 40 minutes to bring the sheep over to the other side of the riverbank.
The sheepdogs waded through flood water at the River Stour in Dorset to save nearly 80 sheep from drowning on Saturday
The flooding was caused by torrential overnight rain which caused the River Stour in Dorset to burst its banks and maroon the ewes.
They were aided by owner Jemma Harding, 40, who also carried several frightened animals to safety.
Ms Harding, who works on Knighton Farm House near Wimborne, Dorset, called her five sheepdogs ‘ferocious and amazing’.
She described the rescue operation as ‘a miracle’ and said: ‘We’d have suffered some big losses if it weren’t for my brave sheepdogs. I was totally caught out by the floods.
‘There’s just no way I could have saved those sheep without my dogs. They’re so brave and strong – each one is worth 20 men. They don’t complain, they don’t moan, and they just get on with the job at hand.
The sheep were said to have been ‘jeopardising’ the rescue operation in Dorset by ‘jumping on top of each other’ on Saturday
‘Some of them don’t even like water – like my eldest, Bee, who doesn’t going swimming in the sea when I take them down to the beach. But they all got stuck in, and kept going for the full 40 minutes.
‘I was tossing and turning all night, thinking the riverbanks will have burst and that the sheep will have drowned by the morning. So I was relieved to see them all marooned like they were.
‘But there was easily a good 300m (1,000ft) between them and the farm gate. I needed all the dog power that I could get, and they saved the day.’
Ms Harding, who also waded into the floodwaters in her wellies to carry stragglers, said the sheep were ‘jeopardising’ the rescue operation.
‘They’re a bit dumb, they started self-sabotaging,’ she said. ‘At one point they started jumping on top of each other – and I thought that they would get themselves drowned.’
The sheepdogs were aided by owner Jemma Harding, 40, who also carried several frightened animals to safety
And the current was ‘so strong’ that even her ‘brave swimmers’ struggled to sustain the same level of energy that morning.
Ms Harding said: ‘At one point, a few of them were trying to swim against the tide, and they weren’t moving at all – that was the lowest point.’
Thankfully all the lambs were rescued by Ms Harding and her sheepdogs, aged between one and eight. She rewarded them with ‘warm puppy milk’ and ‘lots of hugs’.
The rescue operation took place at around 11am on December 14, following a night of torrential rainfall that led to rising river levels.
Measurements published on a government website show the river level of the Stour had been measured at 0.9m at 11am on the 13th.
By midnight on the 14th, the level had risen to 0.95m, before reaching nearly 1m at 11am – and nearly 1.2m by 11am on December 15.