UK weather: Flood warnings issued in Scotland as high winds and heavy rain to lash UK

Kate Ng
Strong winds whip up the sand as people walk along Tynemouth beach on the north east coast: PA

The bank holiday weekend is off to a very windy start, especially in Scotland, where the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has put five flood alerts in place as spells of heavy rain are expected to hit.

A number of ferry services have been cancelled due to weather conditions, with at least three Caledonian Macbrayne (CalMac) routes between Ardrossan and Brodick, Oban, Coll and Tiree called off on Saturday.

Areas that will be potentially affected by flooding include Argyll and Bute; Easter Ross and Great Hlen; Findhorn, Nairn, Moray and Speyside; Skye and Lochabar; and Wester Ross.

“Persistent and at times heavy rain is expected to affect mainly wester parts of the area from late Friday through until early on Sunday morning,” said the warnings.

“River flooding from small watercourses is possible and by the end of Saturday some of the larger rivers are likely to be high.”

The unsettled conditions have been brought on by an Atlantic low pressure system that began moving northwest of the UK on Friday, said Met Office meteorologist Matthew Lehnert.

“This system will bring a spell of strong winds and a risk of gales to northern and eastern parts of the UK, with gales of 50 to 60mph possible for parts of north Wales, northwest England, Northern Ireland and western Scotland,” he said.

“Along with strong winds, some rain is expected followed by showers, heaviest across north-western parts of the UK.”

As the weekend continues into Sunday, there are signs that more settled conditions will develop across the south of the UK and throughout other areas next week.

However, as drier and brighter weather is expected on bank holiday Monday, people are being urged to stay away from beaches as crowding in recent days have raised fears over social distancing.

Some lockdown measures were eased in England last week, with no restrictions on how far people can drive to go to the countryside, National Parks and beaches for exercise.

Temperatures are forecasted to reach highs of 26C in London on Monday, with coastal areas likely to reach 20C.

The wall-to-wall sunshine is expected to tempt people out to beaches and other open areas to sunbathe and enjoy life beyond the four walls of their homes. But social distancing guidelines must be kept to, with some councils closing off areas to non-local visitors.

Hastings Borough Council has said the area is “closed to visitors from outside of town”, while the Isle of Wight Council has issued “clear advice” that visitors should stay away.

The National Trust is urging people across England to stay close to home and explore local green spaces and countryside this weekend, as part of the collective effort to make easing of the lockdown work.

Additional reporting by agencies