8 March 2008
People are being urged to stay away from coastal areas from Sunday to Wednesday as severe weather brings the risk of high waves and flooding.
Forecasters at the Met Office, UK's national weather service, have issued severe weather warnings for much of the UK, with winds of 70 m.p.h. expected across southern and western parts of the British Isles, perhaps up to 80 m.p.h. in exposed areas.
As a result of the warnings the Environment Agency is urging people to stay away from coastal areas, particularly in the South West, Wales and North West England.
Martin Young, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office, said: " It will be very windy for many parts of the UK in the early part of next week, but especially so across coasts in the south. Southerly winds are expected to strengthen during the early hours of Monday causing severe gales. After a brief respite, further westerly severe gales are forecast for later in the day and into the early hours of Tuesday."
David Rooke, Head of Flood Risk Management at the Environment Agency said: "People living in properties in low lying exposed coastal areas along the South West, Wales and North West England should make sure they are monitoring the situation from Sunday afternoon onwards by checking flood updates on the Environment Agency website or ringing Floodline.
"The strong winds will combine with spring high tides to significantly elevate the water levels along the coast which is likely to cause some flooding.
"We understand that people are fascinated by the sea but at times like this we do urge them not to go and watch the high waves – it is extremely dangerous and only takes a few seconds for someone to be knocked off their feet, into the water."
The Met Office and Environment Agency are continually monitoring the forecast. People are advised to stay in touch with the latest weather forecast and warnings on the Met Office website, and tune into local radio and TV. Those concerned by the risk of coastal flooding should call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for the latest flood warnings in their area.