Belfast Telegraph

Storm Deirdre to hit Christmas shoppers with heavy snow, rain, ice and gales

The Irish weather service named the storm on Saturday night.

Forecasters have warned of hazardous conditions on the roads (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Forecasters have warned of hazardous conditions on the roads (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Heavy snow, gales and “rare” freezing rain are expected across large parts of the country as Storm Deirdre sweeps in for one of the last big shopping days before Christmas.

Much of the country is affected by weather warnings for Saturday, with travel disruption and power cuts expected due to the icy blast.

Only the South East of England is not covered by either a yellow or amber warning, although forecasters say the area will still see some heavy rain.

Met Eireann, the Irish weather service, named an area of westwards-moving low pressure Storm Deirdre on Friday night.

It has issued an orange alert for the entirety of Ireland, warning of wind gusts up to 80mph and persistent and heavy rain.

For the UK, the Met Office has issued a series of warnings stretching from Land’s End to the Shetland Islands.

A yellow warning of heavy rain and strong winds up to 70mph is in place for Northern Ireland, south-west England and South Wales until 6pm.

Winds of between 40mph and 50mph were beginning to be be recorded in the region early on Saturday morning.

A further yellow warning of snow and ice that covers nearly all of England and Scotland will run for 24 hours from 9am on Saturday.

Further amber warnings of hazardous ice – covering the East Midlands, North of England and southern Scotland – and prolonged, heavy snow – covering central Scotland, Highland and Grampian areas, are in place from Saturday morning through to Sunday morning.

Freezing rain is expected to result in the “rapid development of widespread ice, with very dangerous travelling conditions likely” in the warning area.

Meanwhile, heavy snow and blizzards could result in travel delays and strandings on affected roads.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge told the Press Association: “If you’re not under a snow and ice warning you’re probably under a wind and rain warning.

“The good thing is that Deirdre is expected to clear out the cold air and become much milder across the weekend.”

Freezing rain, a “rare” weather event for the UK, is forecast from the southern Pennines up to central Scotland.

“The problem is it freezes instantly on contact with cold surfaces, covering them with hard, clear ice,” Mr Partridge said.

“That means power cables can be covered and supplies can be interrupted if they are brought down by the ice.

“There can also be issues with untreated roads.”

Press Association

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