A ‘danger to life’ weather warning has been issued for vast swathes of Britain today (Wednesday, September 27) – with Storm Agnes expected to batter the UK from midday.
The first named storm of the season is expected to bring damaging and dangerous winds, big stormy seas and heavy rain. It is due to make landfall on the west coast of Ireland this morning, before smashing into the UK with 75mph winds at around lunchtime.
Met Office warns that “injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible”. The national weather forecaster also says that there is a “small chance of injuries and danger to life” from “large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts”.
The Met Office also says there could be “some damage to buildings” and “power cuts are likely to occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage”. It also warms that “some roads and bridges are likely to close” disruption transport networks “may be affected. with longer journey times and cancellations possible.”
A string of Met Office ‘yellow alerts’ will activate, with a yellow wind weather warning from midday to 7am on Thursday, and stretch across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as the south-west of England, the West Midlands and most of the north of England. Two yellow rain warnings, covering areas of Scotland, are also in place from 3pm on Wednesday to midnight.
Storm Agnes, which was described as “intensifying quickly” in the Atlantic during Tuesday evening, is expected to generate winds of up to 75mph and cause dangerous conditions along coastlines, especially Irish Sea coastlines. Its main impact will be strong winds and large waves.
Met Office meteorologist Tom Morgan told the PA news agency: “We are likely to potentially see some damaging winds, the possibility of some brief power interruptions, particularly in Irish sea coastal areas.
“So Northern Ireland, north-west England, west Wales, and south-west Scotland, that’s where we’ll probably see gusts of up to 75mph (Wednesday) afternoon, (Wednesday) evening, that’s when the peak of the winds will be and then Storm Agnes will move across Scotland clearing away from Shetland through Thursday morning.”
He added: “In addition to the winds, there’s going to be some large waves as well, so some big stormy seas, and therefore there might well be some coastal flooding where the waves break on to promenades and on to coastal roads.”
The storm is likely to cause “dangerous conditions” on the coasts around the UK and Ireland, according to The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). They advised staying a “safe distance” away from the water and cliff edges to avoid being knocked over or washed into the sea.
RNLI water safety partner Sam Hughes said: “It is not worth risking your life. If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – you may end up in difficulty too.”
Disruption to ferry services across the Irish Sea, bridge closures, power cuts and “small amounts” of damage to buildings are also expected. Storm Agnes will be “more widespread” than the last named storm to hit the UK, Storm Betty, but it will not produce “significant widespread and long-lasting travel disruption”, it is understood.
On Thursday, most parts of the UK will be poised for a “much calmer” forecast and further spells of wet and breezy weather should peter out by the end of the week for a drier weekend.