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Cumbria braced for Storm Aileen

[S]torm Aileen is the first storm to be named since this season names were released last week and it will bring strong winds to parts of the UK.

A deepening area of low pressure will bring very strong winds across much of England and Wales during Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. An Amber National Severe Weather Warning is in place, warning of gusts of 55-65 mph in particular across parts of Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.  Gusts up to around 75mph gusts could also be possible in exposed locations such as the coast and hills in these areas.

A Yellow weather warning for rain is also in place for parts of Northern Ireland, Northern England and Southern Scotland which warns of 30-40mm of rain falling within 6-9 hours which could cause some disruption.

Chief forecaster Frank Saunders said: “Storm Aileen is expected to bring strong winds of up to 75mph to a central segment of the UK and an Amber weather warning has been issued. As well as the strong winds, there will be some heavy rain pushing eastwards overnight which could see accumulations of 30-40mm.

“The low pressure system that is bringing these strong winds will move fairly swiftly from west to east over the UK and although there will still be some disruption through Wednesday morning, the winds will ease by the afternoon leaving a day of blustery showers.”

Drivers are being urged to take extra care on motorways and major A roads overnight and tomorrow morning.

Highways England has issued an amber ‘be aware’ alert across the country in response to a Met Office forecast of strong winds and heavy rain, which comes into force at 9pm tonight and runs until 9am tomorrow morning.

Drivers of lorries, caravans and motorbikes are being advised to avoid 53 exposed sections of the road network, including the Humber Bridge, Thelwall Viaduct and Woodhead Pass in the North [see Notes to Editors for full list].

Richard Leonard, Head of Road User Safety at Highways England, said: “We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys, with strong winds and heavy rain expected from Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning.

“In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road if possible.”

It generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as on a dry road because tyres have less grip on the surface. In wet weather you should:

  • Slow down if the rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen
  • Keep well back from the vehicle in front as this will increase your ability to see and plan ahead
  • Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually if the steering becomes unresponsive as it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road

Drivers are being advised to follow messages on the overhead signs and listen to radio updates. Further information can be found by visiting the www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or calling the Highways England Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

There has been some speculation that this weather is being driven by the severe weather in the Caribbean and US. There is no such connection. Met Office Deputy Meteorologist Chris Tubbs said: “There are no links between the very strong winds we expect to see here in the UK and the hurricanes affecting the United States and the Caribbean at present. This system originated well north in the Atlantic Ocean, independent of the current Caribbean hurricanes.”

As Storm Aileen clears out eastwards into the North Sea, the UK will be left with cool showery conditions through the end of the week and into the weekend. The showers will still be blustery on Thursday with the winds easing as we get closer to the weekend. Within the showers there will be some periods of brightness although it will still feel cool across the whole of the UK with top temperatures only reaching 18-19°C.

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