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Latest UK storm ‘may be last one for a while’

Storms in Scotland

A train passes through storm waves at Saltcoats in Scotland. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA


Powered by article titled “Latest UK storm ‘may be last one for a while'” was written by James Meikle, Paul Owen and Rowena Mason, for The Guardian on Friday 3rd January 2014 23.42 UTC

Tidal surges and gusts of up to 75mph battered parts of the UK on Friday as officials urged the public not to put lives at risk by storm and wave watching, and ministers sought to tackle a potential political storm over allegations that flood prevention could be a victim of spending cuts.

At one stage, 21 severe flood warnings were issued by the Environment Agency with parts of Wales, Scotland, western England and Northern Ireland most affected.

Police said they were extremely concerned for the safety of Henry Martin, 18, who has not been seen since he left his home in Membland, Newton Ferrers, near Plymouth, Devon, to take pictures of the weather on Thursday. Air, sea and land searches were undertaken. Martin had recently started a course in film and TV production at Greenwich University in London but was back home visiting his family for Christmas.

Ferry services were cancelled, train services disrupted and roads closed, but conditions on Friday were not as bad as some authorities feared they might be.

Aftermath of UK Storm

Workers repair a storm-damaged road in Amroth, west Wales. Photograph: Aled Llywelyn/Athena Pictures

The Met Office is forecasting some respite on Saturday from some of the wettest and windiest weather in decades which, as well as widespread flooding, has caused power cuts and travel disruption.

Even so, up to 30mm of rain will fall on already sodden southern areas of England on Saturday with a threat of snow on higher ground in more northerly parts of the UK.

In Scotland, “be aware” weather warnings have been issued for the Strathclyde, Tayside, Fife, South-west Scotland, Lothian & Borders and Central regions. The warning also covers Northern Ireland and parts of the north of England. Existing yellow warnings for wind and rain across much of the country remained in place.

Another depression due to blow in from the Atlantic on Sunday could bring winds of up to 50mph rather than the gusts of up to 75mph that struck the UK on Friday.

Helen Chivers, head of news at the Met Office, said that “might be the last really big storm for a little while”. Some unsettled weather would follow but was more likely to be of the sunshine and showers variety than the hatch-battening events that forced yet more mopping up after a combination of high spring tides, high winds and low pressure.

A check on wind speeds suggests December provided the stormiest end to the year since 1969 and one of the windiest months since January 1993. In Scotland, it was the wettest month in records dating back to 1910.

Storm Waves in U.K.

A family is caught out while watching the waves at Mullion Cove, Cornwall. Photograph: Apex

Appeals to the public not to walk on coastal paths and promenades and near flood water failed to deter storm watchers in some parts of the country. A man was seen swimming in the flooded river Nith between Dumfries and Kingholm Quay, and Carmarthenshire council called in the police to move on sightseers at Burry Port, south-west Wales.

The coastal town, which sits on a tidal estuary, was lashed by huge waves and winds of more than 70mph during the morning high tide.


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