Warmest winter for 300 years turns wet and windy in the west

The Met Office is warning of further severe gales, more heavy rain and an increasing risk of flooding over the weekend.

Winds of up to 80 mph are forecast in the worst-affected areas of the west – in particular in the hills of Wales.

The strongest gusts are expected to hit late on Saturday (9 December) and into the early hours of Sunday morning.

South-west England, south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland will also be hit by gale force winds, possibly reaching 70 mph. The Met Office says the storm will bring further rain to already waterlogged parts of Scotland, continuing the risk of flooding in these areas.

Further severe gales will push into Northern Ireland, southern Scotland and northern parts of England during Sunday afternoon and evening, after a brief lull during the first part of Sunday.

The warnings came as the Met Office announced the UK had just experienced its warmest autumn for more than 300 years.

The Met Office also revealed that central England experienced the warmest autumn for 347 years. The provisional mean temperature this year was 12.6C. The previous highest figure for the equivalent period was 11.8C, recorded in 1730 and 1731.

The provisional UK-wide mean temperature for autumn was 11.3C, beating the previous record set in 2001 of 10.5C, in a temperature series that began in 1914.

The current Met Office winter forecast indicates a continuation of the mild theme, with a higher probability of above-average temperatures during December, January and February.

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