Belfast Telegraph

Britain braced for winds and snow

Britain is bracing itself for a night of gale force winds stirred up by a 250mph jet stream strike, to be followed by snow.

Two amber warnings have now been issued by the Met Office, for the north and central belt of Scotland, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh.

This has sparked fears that Friday's morning rush hour in the two major cities could be impacted by the strong winds that will lash the country overnight.

The warning for the central Forth-Clyde valley is in place from midnight to 8am and the warning for the north lasts from 10pm to 10am.

It is feared buildings could be damaged, trees uprooted and travel and power lines affected as forecasters warned of winds up to 100mph, similar to those which caused widespread damage in 2013.

The ferocious gales have been stirred up by an extra-powerful jet stream triggered by plunging temperatures in the United States hitting warmer air in the south.

Forecasters said the 250mph jet stream would bring two "vigorous depressions" to the UK over the coming days.

The rest of Scotland has been issued with a yellow Met Office warning as gusts of up to 70mph are forecast and England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also set to be hit with strong winds of up 60mph.

Will Lang, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "The winds will be at their strongest through the early hours of Friday and this brings the potential for disruption across Scotland, but there is a chance that strong, gusty winds could persist into the early part of the morning rush hour as well.

"We'd advise anyone planning to travel during the early part of the morning and into the early rush hour to be prepared for some transport disruption and check traffic and travel conditions before heading out to ensure you can make your journey safely."

Lashing rain will hit the west coast and quickly sweep across Britain tonight into the early hours of tomorrow morning.

And hot on its heels, Britain will be hit by another storm with more weather warnings issued for Saturday amid predictions of further gale-force winds.

But despite the storms, temperatures will be "exceptionally mild for that time of year" - widely hovering at 14C to 15C.

The AA advised drivers faced "potentially hazardous" conditions.

John Seymour, national manager of the AA's severe weather team, said: "Scotland, particularly, is going to take something of a battering and drivers need to be prepared for possible widespread travel disruption and challenging driving conditions across the affected areas.

"We would encourage people to check the weather and traffic updates before departing and to heed any police warnings about whether it is safe to travel.

"If you have no choice but to drive, keep your speed down as sudden gusts can catch you out and there is a risk of debris on the roads."

The fierce winds will pass over Britain, but forecasters are warning that snow could strike next week.

Mr Lang said a wave of far cooler temperatures will hit which look set to bring snow flurries to parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, especially on the higher ground.

And north west England and Wales could also be hit by snowstorms over hilly areas.

Tens of thousands of homes were left without power, trees were uprooted, trains and flights cancelled and floods crippled huge swathes of the UK when storms arrived on the south coast in October 2013.

Bethany Freeman, 17, died when the tree came down on a caravan as she slept in Kent, while 14-year-old Dylan Atkins was swept out to sea when he played near waves in Newhaven, East Sussex.

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