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UK weather warning system explained: Met office issues yellow warning as Storm Isha hits

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for wind for the entire UK until Monday midday. This comes after two amber wind alerts were issued and a red warning for parts of northern Scotland, which have now expired.

A rare red warning for wind was also issued for Scotland until 5am.

People have been told to expect damage to homes and buildings, falling trees, power cuts, flying debris, large waves and even some flooding in places.

The Met Office said "everybody" had been affected by Storm Isha in some way. It added that some roads and bridges may close – and road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations possible

Network Rail has said that the remains of a garden shed were blown onto the line at Bellgrove station in Glasgow and a small fire broke out after a tree fell on overhead wires in Gartcosh, Cumbernauld.

Meanwhile, in London, a damaged roof in Ealing Broadway is causing delays on the Central Line.

Mr Khan's SWEP is among the several emergency cold weather protocols he has introduced to support those in need.

He said people taking up the offer would receive support to "move on" to "secure" longer-term accommodation.

For example, City Hall said all London boroughs had also committed to the mayor's "In for Good" principle. This means that no one will be asked to leave accommodation until a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping, regardless of whether the temperatures increase or not.

From Storm Ciaran to the summer heatwaves, the UK has faced numerous weather warnings in 2023.

The Met Office is responsible for issuing these, and informing the public about the impacts of severe weather.

Snow last hit the UK in March, but could be on the way again in December amid plummeting temperatures (Peter Byrne / PA)
Snow last hit the UK in March, but could be on the way again in December amid plummeting temperatures (Peter Byrne / PA)

The warnings tell people what weather is in store and whether forecasters and other experts deem it to be extreme.

The Met Office operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so warnings can be issued at any time, day or night. These can be for any extreme conditions, be they rain, thunderstorms, wind, snow, lightning, ice, extreme heat and fog.

But what do the levels mean? We take a look below:

What are the colours of the UK's weather warnings?

The Met Office issues weather warnings through the National Severe Weather Warning Service. These are for when severe weather has the potential to impact the UK.

Their warnings are given a colour based on the severity of the information. Red is the most serious, followed by amber, then yellow.

What do the colours of the UK weather warnings mean?

The Met Office says on its website:

Yellow warning

"Yellow warnings can be issued for a range of weather situations. Many are issued when it is likely that the weather will cause some low-level impacts, including some disruption to travel in a few places.

"Many people may be able to continue with their daily routine, but there will be some that will be directly impacted and so it is important to assess if you could be affected.

“Other yellow warnings are issued when the weather could bring much more severe impacts to the majority of people but the certainty of those impacts occurring is much lower. It is important to read the content of yellow warnings to determine which weather situation is being covered by the yellow warning."

Amber warning

"There is an increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather, which could potentially disrupt your plans. This means there is the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, power cuts, and the potential risk to life and property.

“You should think about changing your plans and taking action to protect yourself and your property. You may want to consider the impact of the weather on your family and your community, and whether there is anything you need to do ahead of the severe weather to minimise the impact."

Red warning

"Dangerous weather is expected and, if you haven’t already done so, you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the severe weather. It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure. You should avoid travelling, where possible, and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities."

How does the Met Office issue weather warnings?

Each warning has the same format to make it as easy to understand as possible. The Met Office announces them and sends them to news services.

The warnings detail what weather is forecast, what to expect from this, and what people should do to stay safe.