‘Danger to life’ warning with Storm Dennis set to bring 5 inches of rain to UK

Britain will be washed out by up to five inches of rain – causing huge flood risks – and 80mph winds as Storm Dennis runs riot this weekend, the Met Office has warned.

Four amber weather warnings for torrential rain on Saturday and Sunday have been issued by the forecaster, with the relentless downpours likely to bring flooding to homes and businesses.

While weather maps also show the UK looking battered and bruised with shades of purple and red signifying horrific wind speeds as the fourth named storm of the winter bulldozes his way from coast to coast.

By midnight, the storm winds will have engulfed the entire country, with Scotland seeing the brunt of Dennis' rampage – though it is Liverpool, Cardiff, Exeter and Bournemouth which will see the harshest of the rain, after warnings were upgraded from yellow on the eve of the storm. 



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"Spells of heavy and prolonged rain are expected to affect parts of England and Wales over the weekend with a higher likelihood of impacts now expected in some areas," said a Met Office spokesperson.

"Around 20-40 mm of rain will fall widely with 50-80 mm likely across parts of northern and southern England.

"Over the higher ground of Wales and southwest England, 120-140 mm of rain is possible in a few locations. This rain is expected to fall across areas already wet from recent rainfall."

A total of three new amber warnings covering areas of high land and associated rivers have been issued for a 24-hour period over the weekend.

Forecasters predict "very heavy rain" will strike areas around the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor in Devon from 3pm on Saturday to 3pm on Sunday.

On Sunday, a fourth amber warning for areas south of London, stretching from Andover in Hampshire eastwards, has also been issued from shortly after midnight until 6pm.

Fast flowing or deep floodwater is also likely, "causing danger to life", while trains, buses and roads could be hit by closures, cancellations and delays.

There is a risk of communities being cut off by flooded roads and power cuts in affected areas.

Three large yellow warnings for strong winds and heavy rain also cover all of England, Wales and southern Scotland from between 9am and midday on Saturday.

The rain and wind is expected to track east throughout the weekend, with the warnings for England and Wales lasting until late on Sunday night.

The wind warning over Scotland will grow on Sunday to encompass the whole region, including Northern Ireland, persisting until midday on Monday.

The arrival of Storm Dennis comes just a week after Storm Ciara battered parts of the country, bringing winds of up to 97mph.

Met Office meteorologist Matthew Box said inland gusts could reach 50mph by Saturday afternoon, rising to 80mph in exposed areas in the south and west.

He said: "The winds will be a touch down on what we saw with Ciara but the focus is on a bit more rain with Storm Dennis due to the persistence of the rain."

Higher locations could have rainfall levels of 50mm to 80mm over the course of the weekend, potentially rising to 140mm in some parts, Mr Box said.

More widely, rain totals could be around 20mm to 40mm, with the Environment Agency urging people to check for flood warnings.

It said preparations were under way to operate flood defences, flood storage reservoirs and to put up temporary barriers to protect communities.

This includes the Foss Barrier in York, the Thames Barrier in London and another in Bewdley, Worcestershire, on the River Severn.

Caroline Douglass, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Remember to never drive or walk through floodwater, just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car – it's not worth the risk."

Mr Box said the start of half term for some children this weekend means families should plan ahead or consider delaying their travels.

He warned rain could help topple sodden trees, affecting power lines, while strong winds could affect transport links such as ferries.

The AA has urged the public to follow safety advice on the roads, with Ben Sheridan, AA patrol of the year, saying: "Take extra care when passing high-sided vehicles, cyclists and motorbikes, and watch out for sudden gusts, which can blow debris, trees and even damaged vehicles into your path."

UK 5 day weather forecast

Today:

A fine start in the east but cold for many. A band of rain in the far northwest pushing east and southeast. Blustery showers following for the northwest. Staying dry in the southeast until evening. Becoming windier.

Tonight:

Rain in the south and far west moving over the rest of the UK, with Storm Dennis bringing a very wet and windy day across the country.

Spells of very wet and windy weather affecting all parts, especially over the weekend in association with storm Dennis. Mild.

Outlook for Sunday to Tuesday:

Storm Dennis bringing further wet and windy weather on Sunday. Turning colder next week with sunny spells and blustery showers, heaviest and most frequent in the north and west.

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