The recent run of unsettled, wet weather will continue this week with Storm Frank on the way
Another spell of wet and windy weather is forecast to affect parts of the UK Tuesday night and into Wednesday this week as Storm Frank, the sixth named storm of the season arrives.
On Tuesday night unsettled, stormy weather is predicted. Storm Frank will bring gales or severe gales to western parts of the UK from Tuesday evening into Wednesday. Gusts of 55-65 mph are likely quite widely, with gusts reaching 70-80 mph in the most exposed areas, particularly in northwest Scotland.
Rainfall associated with this system is also expected to cause some disruption with persistent, heavy rain over parts of Northern Ireland, west and southwest Scotland, spreading to northwest England and Wales early on Wednesday. Amber 'be prepared' rainfall warnings are in force. Rainfall totals of 20-40mm are expected widely across these areas but with 80mm possible over high ground and some exposed areas in central and southern Scotland and Cumbria have the potential to receive in excess of 100mm of rainfall.
On Wednesday rain will clear from western and northern areas through the morning, spreading eastwards then slowly clearing from southeastern Britain during the evening. Clearer weather will follow into the northwest of the UK later. Windy throughout with gales, locally severe, these generally easing later in the day too.
New Year's Eve (Thursday) looks to be a brighter, colder day with sunshine and showers, some heavy with hail and thunder. A cold night to follow with a widespread frost expected in all parts.
Many areas should be fine and dry on New Year's Day (Friday), but cloud, rain and strong winds are likely to return from the west over the weekend.
Dan Suri, Met Office Chief Meteorologist, said: "We expect stormy conditions tonight and during Wednesday, and have already issued Severe weather warnings for gales and heavy rain associated with Storm Frank.
"Everyone should be aware of the potential for disruption in places from further flooding and the impacts of the gales to transport, especially in areas such as Cumbria and southern and central areas of Scotland where Amber 'be prepared' warnings for rain are in place.
"The weather is particularly unsettled at the moment and we advise everyone to stay up to date with the latest Met Office UK forecast and Severe weather warnings and find out What are the National Severe Weather Warning Service Impact tables? so they can plan ahead for the expected weather before it arrives."
Flooding Minister for Scotland, Aileen McLeod said:
"Winter storms have already had an impact on parts of Scotland, and even more extreme conditions are expected with the arrival of Storm Frank.
"The situation is being closely monitored 24/7 and the Scottish Government is continuing to work closely with SEPA, the Met Office, local authorities and the emergency services to coordinate a multi-agency response and ensure that people and businesses are fully prepared for possible flooding.
"I would encourage everyone to monitor SEPA's Floodline website for the latest flood information and to sign up to receive Floodline warnings direct to their phone."
Craig Woolhouse, Director of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said:
"The weather continues to be hugely challenging, with more rain threatening to cause further flooding in Cumbria on Wednesday and into Thursday. We urge communities in Cumbria to prepare and not to walk or drive through flood water.
"The public should continue to listen to and co-operate with the emergency services, particularly those in the areas where severe flood warnings have been issued.
"Our hearts go out to those that have been flooded. Environment Agency teams continue to work around the clock in difficult conditions, to protect homes, communities and land."
The public can can sign up to receive free flood warnings, check their flood risk and keep up to date with the latest situation on the Environment Agency website and on social media using #floodaware."
This very unsettled and occasionally stormy spell was well signalled in our recent three month outlooks and is not unusual for this time of year, indeed this is when climatologically we would expect to have most of our storms.
We only need to go back to the Winter storms, December 2013 to January 2014 to see storms of similar strength to that we are expecting this week. There are comparable or more severe storms in recent years, including Winter storms, early January 2012 and Early winter storms, late 2011, each of which caused widespread impacts.
Throughout this unsettled spell Met Office forecasters and advisors are working round the clock with our partners to keep everyone up to date with the latest forecast information so they can plan and prepare for the expected weather.