Storm Agnes lashes UK with strong winds and heavy rain

The UK is facing the first major storm of the autumn and winter season, as Storm Agnes brings gusts of up to 75mph and torrential rain to parts of the country. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for wind and rain, warning of travel disruption, power cuts and coastal flooding.

Storm Agnes named by Met Office

Storm Agnes was named by the Met Office on Tuesday, after a deep area of low pressure developed in the Atlantic, enhanced by some energy from ex-tropical storm Ophelia which hit the north-east coast of the US over the weekend. The storm is moving quickly north-eastwards towards the UK and is expected to reach its peak intensity on Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Storm Agnes lashes UK with strong winds and heavy rain
Storm Agnes lashes UK with strong winds and heavy rain

The Met Office said that Storm Agnes is the first named storm of the 2023-24 season, which started on 1 September. The storm names are established in collaboration between the UK Met Office, Ireland’s Met Éireann and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.

Warnings for wind and rain in force

The Met Office has issued yellow severe weather warnings for wind from 12:00 BST on Wednesday through until 07:00 BST on Thursday morning. The warning covers Northern Ireland, south-west Scotland, west and north-west Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire, as well as the south-west of England, the West Midlands and most of the north of England.

The Met Office said that the strongest winds are likely around Irish Sea coastal areas with gusts of 60-65mph (97-105km/h) and the most exposed areas up to 75mph (120km/h). These wind speeds have the potential to bring travel disruption with bridges closed or ferry services cancelled. Trees may come down and power supplies may be cut in some areas. There is also the potential for injury and damage to property.

In addition to strong winds, there will also be some heavy rain which follows what has already been a very wet period so there are separate yellow warnings for central and south-eastern Scotland. With 30-60mm of rain falling, there could be some localised flooding.

Dangerous conditions on coasts

The storm is likely to cause dangerous conditions on the coasts around the UK and Ireland, according to The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). There is also a chance of minor flooding of coastal roads due to large waves.

The RNLI urged people to stay away from exposed beaches, cliffs and piers during the storm. It said that anyone who sees someone in trouble in the water should call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

How to stay safe during Storm Agnes

The Met Office advised people to follow these tips to stay safe during Storm Agnes:

  • Secure loose objects such as ladders, garden furniture or anything else that could be blown into windows and other glazing and break them
  • Close and securely fasten doors and windows, particularly those on the windward side of the house, and especially large doors such as those on garages
  • Park vehicles in a garage, if available; otherwise keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences
  • Close curtains at night to prevent injuries from flying glass if windows are broken
  • Be aware of debris being blown around or falling from buildings
  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • If you have to go out, try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees
  • Keep away from exposed coastal areas
  • Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary
  • Before setting off check your route is clear of fallen trees or other hazards
  • Take care when driving on exposed routes such as bridges or high open roads
  • Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front

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