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Great North runners face stormy day

The Great North Run is set to be lashed with rain and strong gusts of wind as stormy conditions roll in across much of the UK, heralding the beginning of autumn.

As some 55,000 people set off on the half-marathon in Newcastle on Sunday morning, winds in the area are expected to be up to 40mph, and will increase to 45mph in the afternoon.

Paul Mott, senior meteorologist at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "It looks like being not particularly nice weather for running. There will be a strengthening southerly wind in the morning and outbreaks of rain, lasting much of the day. Things will certainly be blustery for the race itself. It will also be pretty wet, with about 15mm of rain falling in the Newcastle area on Sunday."

Western areas of Scotland are expected to see the worst rain of the day, with between 30-40mm falling in some places. It will also bear the brunt of the windy conditions, with Northern Ireland and Cumbria, with some tree branches expected to be brought down by the gusts.

Gusts of 50 to 60mph have been predicted, with the potential to reach even higher speeds over exposed coasts and hills.

The rest of the UK is expected to see cool, cloudy and windy conditions during tomorrow, with no signs of a return of any sunshine.

There has already been heavy rainfall across areas of South East England, with Hampstead, north London, having the highest rainfall yesterday. A total of 36mm fell in the 12 hours up to 6am on Saturday - about half a month's average rainfall, Mr Mott said.

The Met Office said it had issued severe weather warnings for the gales in Scotland and Northern Ireland for Sunday and the public should be aware of the potential for some minor disruption to travel.

Chief forecaster Paul Gundersen said: ''A spell of gale force westerly winds is expected later Sunday, peaking on Monday across much of Scotland, the north of Northern Ireland and coasts of north west England and north Wales. Gusts of 50 - 60mph are likely, with the potential for 70mph across exposed coasts and hills of Scotland. 'The public should be aware of the potential for some minor disruption to travel and keep up to date with the latest weather forecast information.''

Temperatures remain in the mid-teens for most of the country over the weekend, a few degrees below average for this time of year, and conditions are expected to remain unsettled into next week.


From Belfast Telegraph