An intense low-pressure system that will affect southern Britain on Saturday has been named as Storm Brian by Met Éireann.
The Met Office’s Irish partner took the decision on Thursday to issue an Orange warning for wind for some parts of Ireland on Saturday because of expected impacts across the Irish Republic. Under the collaboration between the Met Office and Met Éireann a storm is named when it has the potential to cause an amber/orange or red warning.
The Met Office has a Yellow wind warning in force for strong winds on Saturday from 4am covering parts of southern, western and central England and much of Wales . Currently the Met Office has no plans to issue an Amber wind warning for any part of the UK, but the situation will be under continual review.
Chief Forecaster Dan Suri said: “Storm Brian is expected to bring strong south or southwesterly winds to much of Wales and southern and western England from early Saturday. The first and most significant land-based impacts will be in the southwest of Ireland, hence the Orange warning from Met Éireann. At the moment, we don’t expect the same level of impacts for the UK.
“As we go through Saturday morning the strong southwesterly winds affecting the South and West will spread eastwards and slowly change direction as they will become westerly towards the end of the warning period.
“Gusts between 45 and 55 mph are expected widely within the warning area, with gusts of 60 to 70 mph along exposed coastal areas. These are expected to coincide with high tides, leading to locally dangerous conditions in coastal parts.”
This system is now weakening, having undergone explosive cyclogenesis far out in the Atlantic. By the time it reaches Britain and Ireland the storm will be a mature, deep low, bringing strong winds with the potential to affect travel over the weekend. The Met Office and Met Éireann will continue to review the situation ahead of the system’s arrival.
As the system is expected to bring strong gusts during Saturday, there is the obvious potential of risk to travellers. RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “Drivers encountering high winds are advised to reduce their speed, ensure they hold the steering wheel firmly and be prepared for sudden gusts, debris and even fallen branches in the road. Allow plenty of room between your vehicle and the next and take extra care when overtaking cyclists, motorcyclists and lorries as they are susceptible to being blown around easily by side winds. Be extra cautious when driving on exposed roads, high ground and across bridges where again sudden gusts can blow you off course.
“When you reach your destination consider parking safely avoiding trees, overhanging telephone wires and things which could represent a falling danger.”
The strongest winds in coastal areas, gusting up to 70mph, are expected to coincide with high tides, leading to potentially dangerous conditions for local coastal communities.
Alison Baptiste, National flood duty manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Strong winds are expected across southern England on Friday night and into Saturday. Some coastal flooding is possible along the south and south-west coasts of England, especially around the times of high tide, with large waves, spray and some overtopping of coastal defences.
“We urge people to stay safe along the coast and warn against putting yourself in unnecessary danger by taking ‘storm selfies’ or driving through flood water – just 30cm is enough to move your car. Environment Agency teams are on the ground checking defences and taking precautionary measures such as closing tidal gates.
“We’re working with partners including the Met Office and local authorities to monitor the situation and are ready to respond as necessary.Where necessary we will issue flood warnings and alerts. You can check whether you’re affected at www.gov.uk/flood.”
Under the guidelines of the storm naming collaboration, an Orange Met Éireann warning triggers the naming process. Storm Brian will be the second named storm of the season, following Aileen which affected parts of the UK on 12–13 September 2017.
The system is typical for the time of year and it has developed mainly as a result of a contrast in temperatures either side of the jet stream, with low temperatures to the north and high temperatures to the south. Ex-Ophelia which affected Ireland and Britain on Monday and Tuesday had a different origin as it developed from a hurricane in the tropical Atlantic. Therefore, Ophelia’s original name was continued rather than using the next predetermined name from the UK and Ireland’s storm-naming process.
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