Named ‘Storm Erik’ by Met Éireann, the strongest and most damaging winds are expected in the Republic of Ireland. The Met Office have issued a yellow wind warning for Northern Ireland and Scotland on Friday, with the warning extending to parts of northern England early on Saturday.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Will Lang, said: “Southwesterly winds will strengthen across the UK on Friday, so it’s going to be a windy day for everyone. Across southern parts of the UK gusts will reach 40mph widely inland, however the strongest winds are expected across Northern Ireland and Scotland, with gusts of 50 to 60mph possible. This swathe of strongest winds will spread to parts of northern England early on Saturday morning.
“Where the winds are strongest there could be some disruption to transport, with delays and bridge closures possible. Large waves are expected across coastal areas where gusts could reach 70mph, possibly affecting coastal routes and sea fronts.”
In addition to the strong winds, bands of heavy rain will sweep eastwards on Friday, with a yellow warning for rain in place for Scotland.
Chief Meteorologist Will Lang finished, “The good news is Sunday will be a less windy day for most of us as Storm Erik moves towards Scandinavia, however it could stay windy for a time in parts of northeast Scotland.”
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “A band of persistent and heavy rain accompanied by strong to gale force winds is expected to affect Cumbria overnight and on through Friday morning 8th February 2019 before clearing eastwards late afternoon with blustery showers following through into Saturday morning.
“The rain will strengthen and weaken in its intensity during Friday morning with some quite high cumulative totals possible over the high ground of the Lakeland Fells and the Pennines over the 24 hour period. Some localised river and lake response is to be expected and also localised surface water flooding issues are possible.
“River levels are currently running at average levels for this time of year but following some rainfall and snow melt at the start of this week they remain responsive to further rainfall. We are currently forecasting some rise and some Flood Alert levels are likely to be crossed on Friday. Localised river and lake flooding to low lying land, roads and campsite areas is possible. Worst case is for one or two Flood Warnings to be issued but current forecast rainfall totals for this system have been recently downgraded
“Localised surface water flooding issues is also a potential hazard with spray and difficult driving conditions as this weather system passes through with the main risk period currently assessed as being during Friday morning and early afternoon periods.
“Gale force westerly to south-westerly winds associated with this weather system will increase in strength on Friday through into Saturday morning and are likely to cause some stormy coastal conditions with large on-shore waves and wind-blown spray affecting exposed and low-lying areas along the Cumbria Coast around high tide periods. Some minor localised tidal flooding issues cannot be discounted.
“Our Duty Officers are monitoring the situation closely and Environment Agency Field Team staff are being deployed to ensure grids and debris screens on watercourses are clear to maintain unobstructed flows. Please refer to our website https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/ for up to date information on alerts /warnings in force.”
Samantha Loukes, incident manager for Electricity North West, said: “Over the next 48 hours, we’ll be closely monitoring the weather to ensure any damage is repaired and power returns as quickly as possible if it does go off. We are always prepared and well-rehearsed, working around the clock to mobilise our engineers during incidents such as this.
“We would urge people that if they do see any damage to our overhead power lines, to please stay away and report it to us immediately so we can repair it safely.
“As always, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week if customers need any help or advice.”