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UK weather: Amber warning for heavy rain issued with ‘danger to life’ alert | UK News

Heavy rain could spark travel disruption across much of the UK, with a warning that flooding in some places could cause “danger to life”.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for rain across parts of north Wales and northwest England, including Manchester and Liverpool, for 24 hours from midday on Wednesday.

Fast-flowing or deep floodwater is “likely”, according to the forecaster, and a good chance some communities could become cut off, suffer power cuts and see train and bus services cancelled.

A yellow warning for rain covers the north of England, the Midlands and north and central Wales until 6am on Thursday, while another is in place for southern and eastern Scotland from midday today until 6pm tomorrow.

Much of the south coast is likely to see lightning, with a yellow warning for thunderstorms in place from 8am until 7pm on Wednesday.

Get the five-day forecast where you are here

The amber warning. Pic: Met Office
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An amber warning for rain lasts 24 hours from midday on Wednesday. Pic: Met Office

There are warnings for most of the UK. Pic: Met Office
Image:
There are weather warnings for most of the UK. Pic: Met Office

“Some areas are really going to see a lot of heavy, persistent rain through a big chunk of Wednesday,” Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said.

“It is going to be a pretty wet picture as we go through the rest of the week for many places.

“There is some uncertainty as to exactly where we are going to see the heaviest rain and where is most likely to be impacted.”

Many places could see 30-40mm of rain, while a few areas may receive 60-80mm as heavy downpours move northwards throughout Wednesday.

There is even a small chance a few upland areas could see up to 150mm, according to the forecaster.

Scientists have said downpours in the storms that battered the UK and Ireland last autumn and winter were made around 20% heavier by climate change.

A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour, a key factor in climate change driving heavier rainfall.

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Chief meteorologist Andy Page said areas exposed to strengthening northerly winds are most likely to see the highest rainfall.

Northern areas are expected to remain cloudy and wet on Thursday, but southern parts can expect drier conditions, with sunshine becoming more widespread by the end of the week.

The news is better for bank holiday Monday, which is expected to be dry for much of the country, feeling warm in the sunshine.

Banks placed on alert over ‘rogue’ Companies House filings | Business News

Britain’s biggest banks have been placed on alert over hundreds of ‘rogue’ filings which appear to have been lodged at Companies House, the UK’s central corporate register.

Sky News has obtained a note issued by UK Finance, the banking trade association, which warned its members that approximately 800 forms relating to the discharging of financial liabilities were submitted at Companies House late last month.

In the notice to banks – marked as “Urgent” when it was circulated last week – UK Finance said it had alerted both Companies House and the Department for Business and Trade to the issue.

Industry executives pointed to the possibility of an attempted fraud or hacking of the Companies House register, although the circumstances remained unclear on Sunday.

UK Finance said in its memo that a number of members and law firms had “flagged an issue regarding the apparently erroneous satisfaction of security (registered charges) on Companies House relating to a number of live business clients”.

In a further update issued on Friday, it said it had been informed that roughly 800 rogue filings related to 190 companies had been submitted, adding: “Companies House have emphasised that an incorrect entry in the register – saying a charge has been satisfied – does not invalidate or cancel that charge.

“It remains valid and enforceable.

“However, there will likely be other consequences for lenders that will need to be resolved.”

Companies House, which is owned by the government, is responsible for incorporating and limiting millions of limited companies.

One source described the situation as “deeply alarming” and said it was disappointing that Companies House had also outlined plans to increase its fees in May “when it was susceptible to rogue corporate filings in this way”.

Responding to an enquiry from Sky News, a Companies House spokesperson said: “We are aware of this matter and we are looking into it.”

UK Finance declined to comment further.

UK weather: ‘Severe’ alert on the roads as freezing temperatures and snow forecast | UK News

Drivers could end up stranded or delayed this week as freezing temperatures hit the UK – with National Highways issuing a “severe weather alert” for snow.

The travel warning covers northwest England on Tuesday and coincides with four days of Met Office warnings for snow and ice.

Temperatures 5-6C lower than normal are forecast, with sunshine for many today but nearly all of the UK struggling to get more than a couple of degrees above zero.

Monday’s snow and ice warning covers the whole of Northern Ireland and northern Scotland.

On Tuesday, the area expands to cover a large swathe of northern England, the whole of Scotland, and North Wales.

The North West is affected on Tuesday. Pic: Met Office
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Much of northern England is affected by Tuesday’s warning. Pic: Met Office

The yellow warning in place for Wednesday
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A snow warning continues on Wednesday and Thursday. Pic: Met Office

National Highways, which manages motorways and major roads, is urging drivers to “check ahead and plan for disruption” as “widespread snow” is expected in the North West.

It warns of potential delays and stranded vehicles – with 5-10cm possible on top of the A66 and M62 – and other parts getting between 1cm and 5cm.

Some rural communities could be cut off and rail services may also be delayed or cancelled, it adds.

Check the five-day forecast where you are

“We would recommend people stick to the main roads and avoid country lanes where possible,” says Met Office meteorologist Liam Eslick.

“These are the places that aren’t going to see any gritting or any road clearances for the next couple of days.

“So we recommend people take their time, make sure they have time to do their cars in the mornings, and go steady.”

A pedestrian crosses a bridge during a snow shower near Maidstone in Kent. Sleet and snow showers have been forecast for parts of the country on Monday as some regions are still trying to grapple with flooding following intense rainfall. Picture date: Monday January 8, 2024.
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Drivers are being urged to stick to main roads if possible

Mr Eslick says the snow is down to a strong northerly wind bringing in an Arctic airmass.

A Met Office snow warning remains in force on Wednesday and Thursday, over a slightly smaller area but still covering millions in places such as Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Northern Ireland.

As well as possible road and rail problems, the forecaster says there could be power cuts in some places.

This week’s warnings follow snow in the South East last week, with places such as Kent getting several centimetres, and flooding from Storm Henk persisting in many other areas.

UK weather: Alert for cold conditions will be in force for most of next week, amid fears flooding impact could last for days | UK News

A yellow cold weather alert across England comes into force at 9am this morning – and will remain in force for most of next week.

All of this comes as many parts of the country continue to grapple with the aftermath of Storm Henk, with heavy rainfall inundating homes and almost cutting off communities.

As of 2am on Saturday, 244 flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – have been issued by the Environment Agency. A further 262 flood alerts, indicating flooding is possible, also remain in force.

Follow the latest weather updates here

“Significant river flooding impacts” are expected to continue today across parts of the Midlands on the River Trent and in Gloucester, as well as areas of the South West on the River Avon.

Disruption elsewhere in England could last for the next five days because the ground is “completely saturated”.

Almost every river in England is at an exceptionally high level, with some rivers reaching their highest flow on record.

Alex McDonald, an Environment Agency spokeswoman, said: “We’re seeing a large number of big events, and this winter has been particularly bad since October onwards.

“We are feeling the effects of climate change in the East Midlands, and as a nation we need to be more resilient to flooding.”

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Aerial footage shows extent of flooding

What cold weather alert means

The UK Health Security Agency’s warning will be in place until 12pm on 12 January, with forecasters warning of icy conditions as temperatures plunge below freezing.

While colder conditions increase risks to the most vulnerable, with “significant impacts possible” in the health sector, there are hopes that river levels will start to go down as rainfall eases.

The agency said: “Temperatures are likely to be a few degrees below average, across much of the UK, especially overnight, with more widespread frosts than of late.

“Ice is likely to be an issue for many given the very wet ground in most areas. It is probable this cold spell may last well into the following week.”

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Floodwaters rage around home

Meanwhile, Met Office forecaster Oli Claydon said conditions are turning “considerably drier” – with no rain warnings in force for the first time in a while.

“We’re heading to a more settled spell of weather, which will be very welcome for many people across the UK after what’s been a very wet start to 2024,” he added.

Sky meteorologist Steff Gaulter added: ” Flooding issues should gradually subside as the weather begins to change. The change to colder and brighter conditions will be welcome, but it won’t happen instantly.”

Check the forecast where you are

Sunday afternoon weather
Monday afternoon weather

Govt ‘asleep at the wheel’ during flooding crisis

Rishi Sunak’s government has been criticised by rival parties for its handling of the flooding, with the prime minister urged to visit affected areas.

Labour accused the government of being “asleep at the wheel” over flood warnings, and said Mr Sunak should convene a “COBRA-style taskforce” to protect homes from further damage.

Sir Keir Starmer has said “people’s lives shouldn’t be upended by extreme rain”, and vowed to make flood defences “fit for purpose” if he wins the next election.

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A pint in waist-high floodwater

But floods minister Robbie Moore has insisted that the government has “absolutely” provided enough money for flood prevention, with £5.2bn pledged to better protect homes.

Travel disruption is set to continue this weekend, with flooding across the Great Western Railway network meaning trains may be cancelled at short notice.

There are set to be fewer services on long-distance routes, and customers are being urged to check before they travel.

UK weather: Storm Babet forces evacuations in red alert area of Brechin due to floods | UK News

All residents have been told to leave the town of Brechin in Angus due to flooding from Storm Babet.

A severe flood warning is set to be put in place for the Brechin River and South Esk area, Angus Council has said.

Those in the affected areas should leave their homes.

The council will be going door to door shortly.

It comes as severe weather warnings are in place in parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as Storm Babet sweeps the UK.

Live: The latest Storm Babel news

A workman clears the drains in the village of Edzell, Scotland, ahead of Storm Babet
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A workman clears the drains in the village of Edzell in Angus

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UK emergency alert system launched to warn of life-threatening events – with test set for next month | UK News

A UK-wide emergency alert service is being launched today, ahead of a test on Sunday 23 April.

The alerts will be sent directly to mobile phones across the UK to warn people about life-threatening events such as wildfires and severe flooding, the government has said.

They will only come from the government or emergency services and will include details of the area impacted along with instructions about how to respond.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden said: “We are strengthening our national resilience with a new emergency alerts system, to deal with a wide range of threats – from flooding to wildfires.

“It will revolutionise our ability to warn and inform people who are in immediate danger, and help us keep people safe.

“As we’ve seen in the US and elsewhere, the buzz of a phone can save a life.”

Successfully tested in East Suffolk and Reading, the alerts will only be sent when there is an immediate risk to life, so it may be a period of weeks, months or even years between them.

The government said that the alerts will be secure, free to receive, and will not reveal anyone’s location or collect personal data.

It is already possible to sign up to have flood warnings sent directly to your mobile from the Environment Agency in England, and its equivalents in Scotland and Wales.

What will the alert look and sound like?

The alert will appear on your device and you will hear a loud siren-like sound and vibration for up to 10 seconds.

You will have to acknowledge the alert before you can use your phone’s other features.

The alert will appear as a notification and may include phone numbers or website links with further information.

You can see what they look and sound like at www.gov.uk/alerts

If you don’t want to receive the alerts you can opt out in your device settings.

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Mark Hardingham, said: “We’ve seen this type of system in action elsewhere across the world and we look forward to having the facility here in the UK.

“By working together with fire services and partners we want this system to help us to help you be as safe as you can if a crisis does hit.”

Executive director for flood and coastal erosion risk management at the Environment Agency, Caroline Douglass, said: “Being able to communicate warnings in a timely and accurate manner during incidents is really important to help people take action to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbours.”

Wildfire risk raised to ‘exceptional’ – the highest it can be – as four day amber alert begins | UK News

The risk of fires from tinderbox dry conditions across parts of England and Wales has been raised to “exceptional” – the highest it can be – as a four-day amber weather warning comes into force.

The top level on the Fire Severity Index applies to much of southern England, and reaches as far west as Abergavenny in Wales, for this coming Sunday.

The Met Office has issued an amber heat warning running between Thursday and Sunday, which could see temperatures peak at 36C across this stretch.

South East, Southern and Welsh Water have all announced hosepipe bans for customers in areas they supply.

And Thames Water has signalled it will also introduce a ban in the coming weeks as the hot, parched summer continues to take its toll.

There have also been repeated warnings about the impact on agriculture, rivers and wildlife.

Fire Severity index is set to peak on Sunday Pic: Met Office
Image:
Fire Severity index is set to peak on Sunday Pic: Met Office

Read more: What are the rules on hosepipe bans, what are the exemptions and what do they mean?

Amber warning, what to expect:

Adverse health effects are likely to be experienced by those vulnerable to extreme heat

The wider population is likely to experience some adverse health effects including sunburn or heat exhaustion (dehydration, nausea, fatigue) and other heat related illnesses

Some changes in working practices and daily routines, likely to be required

An increased chance that some heat-sensitive systems and equipment may fail

More people are likely to visit coastal areas, lakes, rivers and other beauty spots, leading to an increased risk of water safety and fire-related incidents

Some delays to road, rail and air travel are possible, with potential for welfare issues for those who experience prolonged delays

Met Office meteorologist Marco Petagna said: “The risk (of fires) is very high across much of central, southern and eastern England.

“Going into Friday and the weekend, it starts to increase further, going into the highest category of exceptional risk.”

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The UK braces for the next stifling few days

Worst summer for fires in three decades

Mark Hardingham, the chairman of the National Fire Chiefs Council, told The Telegraph he “can’t remember a summer like this” in his entire 32-year career.

He said: “We’re not going to see temperatures as hot as we saw three weeks ago, but that doesn’t matter because the ground couldn’t get any drier than it already is.”

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There is also a heat health alert in place from the UK Health Security Agency, with experts advising people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions, as well as young children.

The latest analysis from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology has warned low or even exceptionally low river flows and groundwater levels are likely to continue for the next three months in southern England and Wales.

A man stands in the basin of Grafham Water near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, where water is receding during the drought. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35C expected next week. Picture date: Monday August 8,
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A man stands in the basin of Grafham Water near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, where water is severely receding

Rain relief?

But, Mr Petagna said rain could be on the horizon early next week.

“There are signs that we could get some rain next week, but details at the moment are uncertain,” he said.

He added the UK needs “a few weeks” of light rain to water the ground.

“What we really need is a few weeks of light rain to soak into the ground,” he said.

“Thunderstorms are more likely to cause some flooding issues because the ground is hard, the water can’t sink in.”