The Met Office has staggered a series of yellow weather warnings for rain across the UK which come into place from today. Under these alerts are parts of Scotland and both northern and southern Wales. All areas are to expect a deluge of heavy rain moving in from the Atlantic from tonight – causing potential travel chaos across the board. People have been urged to take extra care on the roads, and expect delays on public transport networks. In Scotland, the risk of heavy rain is made worse by the thaw of snow on higher ground.
The Met Office’s warning for Scotland activates at 2pm and will finish at 6pm. It covers Angus, Perth and Kinross, Stirling, Aberdeenshire, Highlands & Eilean Siar, Dumfries and Galloway the Scottish Borders, Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.
It says: “Outbreaks of occasionally heavy rain, falling onto already saturated ground, during Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday are expected to bring some localised flooding across parts of western and central Scotland.
“Accumulations widely of 15-25 mm are likely with a few locations, mainly western hills, seeing as much as 50 mm. In addition to the rainfall, rising temperatures will lead to a thaw of lying snow, especially over the hills and mountains to the north of the Central Belt of Scotland.”
Then, from 7pm, parts of Wales will come under a new warning.
The Met Office adds: “A spell of heavy rain is expected to develop through Tuesday evening and clear east during early Wednesday morning, following a day of fairly persistent rain across much of Wales.
“During this evening and night, a further 15-25 mm of rain is expected widely; in a few places this amount could fall in 3-4 hours. Some higher ground may see 40-50 mm of rain overnight.”
The full list of areas affected include Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.
Flooding of a few homes and businesses is to be expected, the forecaster said, with more spray on the roads and public transport delays likely. The warning becomes inactive by 3am tomorrow.
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While these warnings cease by Wednesday, more unsettled condtions are predicted by the end of the week – and this time they are more widespread. The Met Office details such conditions in its long-range weather outlook, starting from this Saturday, January 7.
It says: “A band of rain is expected to push in from the west through Saturday, heavier in the west and clearing eastern coasts through the afternoon, possibly persisting longer in the southeast. Blustery showers will follow in the west, perhaps wintry over hills, with a risk of coastal gales.”
And this theme looks set to continue into next week. It continues: “Through into next week, a continuation of this unsettled theme is most likely. Wettest and windiest conditions are expected across the west and northwest, where showers will sometimes merge into longer spells of rain, with a chance of snow mainly on high ground.
“Drier conditions are more probable to the south, with occasional rain at times. Disruptive winds remain a risk, particularly for the northwest and other exposed coasts. Temperature widely average to mild throughout, with some colder spells in the north.”
Driving in wet and windy weather can be difficult, and quite scary, especially at busier peak times. The Met Office says a handy phrase to remember is ‘if it’s time for your wipers, it’s time to slow down’.
Main roads are preferable over smaller, or even countryside routes, as fallen debris may pose a problem. And drivers should also grip the steering wheel with both hands at times of blustery weather. This, the forecaster said, is especially important when overtaking.
The main aim to be prepared and alert, ensuring a readiness to act quickly due to sudden hazards. It also says to avoid flooded roads completely, and to never even attempt to drive through water-logged areas due to the dangers it poses.