A rare red weather warning for wind has been added to existing amber and yellow wind warnings, with coastal areas on the east coast of Scotland and the northeast of England set to see the most disruptive winds, with gusts expected in excess of 80mph.  

The red warning will come into force from 15:00 Friday and will last until 02:00 Saturday morning. The northerly wind is expected to cause damage to coastal areas, with exceptionally large waves possible in the northeast, resulting in likely significant damage and hazards from beach material being thrown near the coastline. People should stay away from the coast as waves and debris are a danger to life.  

The red warning is embedded within a wider amber wind warning for the northeast of the UK, with gusts in excess of 70mph likely later on Friday and in to Saturday morning within this area. An amber wind warning has also been issued for southwest and northwest England, as well as western Wales, and will be in force from midnight on Saturday. The amber warnings extend to 09:00 on Saturday morning. Temporary and open structures are at risk of significant damage and represent danger to life.  

A yellow wind warning is also in force for wider western areas of the UK on Friday, including Northern Ireland. On Saturday, this yellow warning extends to much of the UK, barring the far southeast, to reflect Storm Arwen’s southern track down the east coast of the UK before shifting into mainland Europe on Sunday. The yellow warning expires at 18:00 on Saturday evening as Storm Arwen starts to shift away towards Europe.  

As well as high winds and damaging gales, Storm Arwen will bring snow to the high ground of Scotland and northern England and yellow snow warnings have been issued for late on Friday and in to Saturday.  

Southern Scotland and northern England have a yellow warning for snow in force from 17:00 to 10:00 Saturday morning, although at lower levels mostly rain is expected. Within the snow warning areas, between 10 and 15 centimetres of snow is possible over higher ground.  

Central and southeast England also get a slightly later yellow warning for snow from midnight Friday night through to 10:00 Saturday morning. Whilst this is expected to be mostly of rain there is a chance that this will turn to snow in places, even to low levels. There is a chance of 2 to 5 centimetres and perhaps up to 8 centimetres on higher ground. 

Met Office Expert Meteorologist Daniel Rudman said, “Storm Arwen is associated with a deep low pressure system that will impact the northeast most significantly from Friday, but will also bring wider impacts to the UK with high winds, rain and snow probable, especially over higher ground. 

“The most significant impacts from Storm Arwen will be the high winds that much of the UK will see on Friday and in to Saturday, with gusts possible in excess of 80mph in exposed coastal areas, especially in the northeast. 

“Coupled with the high winds, Storm Arwen is bringing the potential for rain, sleet and snow. The snow will likely be seen the most in the high ground in the north, but there’s a chance of some lower level impacts towards some southern areas, which is reflected with the yellow warnings for snow we have issued.” 

Storm Arwen brings with it the risk of disruption to travel, power cuts and potential damage, especially near the coasts, where large waves could see material thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.    

RNLI Water Safety Manager, Ross Macleod said: "This rough weather could make visiting our coasts around the UK and Ireland treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

"Sadly, around 150 people accidentally lose their lives around UK and Irish waters each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.

"If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others."

Following a track across the North Sea, Storm Arwen is expected to shift away into the continent later on Saturday, leaving a drier day for many on Sunday, barring some lingering showers over the eastern coasts of England and Scotland. Some wet weather will also move in to the far west later in the day, possibly preceded by some sleet and hill snow over Northern Ireland.    

This weekend will also see a continued drop in temperatures for the UK and a UK Health Security Agency Level 3 cold weather alert has been issued in some places.  

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