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Gale-force start to British summer

Gales roared across the country from the Atlantic today in a disappointing start to the great British summer.

Gusts up to 78mph were recorded and many areas had heavy rain despite bookies slashing the odds on the country enjoying the hottest June on record.

Sun worshippers were warned not to get too excited about predictions of a heatwave, because even though the weather will become more settled, it is not set to turn suddenly tropical.

John Griffiths, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said wind and heavy rain came in from the west and there had been strong winds, particularly in exposed areas. A gale of 49mph had been blowing in Capel Curig, north Wales - with a gust recorded there of 78mph at 8pm.

"It's going to stay windy for the next 24 hours and, though the rain will ease in some places tomorrow, it will remain unsettled in many areas," he said.

Conditions will gradually improve through the rest of the week, with temperatures moving up into the low 70s Fahrenheit - and a chance of thunderstorms on Friday.

The Met Office has said the public should be aware of the potential for disruption to transport and outdoor activities as yellow wind warnings - which suggest people should be aware - were issued for all regions of the UK except Orkney and Shetland. They are valid from 2pm today until 6pm tomorrow.

Bookmaker Coral has said June " could be the hottest in British history''.

It cut the odds on Britain having the hottest June since records began in 1910 to 3-1 from 5-1 amid predictions that a heatwave will sweep the nation.

And it has given odds of 10-1 that the UK mainland temperature exceeds 100F (37.8C) while it is 12-1 that the UK record temperature high of 38.5C (101.3F) is broken.

Ladbrokes also slashed odds of June being the hottest on record from 20-1 to 6-1, while it cut the odds for it being the hottest summer on record from 2-1 to 6-4.

The RAC advised motorists to "take extra care" and postpone journeys to avoid the strongest gales.

Spokesman Simon Williams said: "The wind is going to be the central feature of the weather over the next few days - and it's something every motorist is going to notice when they take to the road, especially drivers of high-sided vehicles.

"Our advice is to take extra care, on exposed routes in particular, allow more time to get to your destination, or even delay your journey if possible to avoid driving in the strongest winds.

"Any driver going past a high-sider on the motorway should be very conscious not only of that vehicle being buffeted off course, but also of what happens to them when they emerge the other side and the wind hits."


From Belfast Telegraph