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Sunday 23 April 2017

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Red sky warning: Gales and floods on their way

As the rain finally stopped overnight some parts of the country woke to an explosion of sunshine.

The morning sun creates a dramatic display of stunning colours over a misty landscape at Malmesbury, Wiltshire, October 17 2012
The morning sun creates a dramatic display of stunning colours over a misty landscape at Malmesbury, Wiltshire Photo: ROBERT PEEL/SWNS

The sun streamed through the breaking clouds and mist to create a dramatic dawn of spectacular colours over Wiltshire.

But like the old saying, the red sky in the morning should act as a warning as gale force winds and high tides along parts of the coastline could lead to flooding today.

The west and south coast of Wales and the coasts of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset are likely to experience gusts of up to 60mph, forecasters said.

The Environment Agency said strong westerly winds would cause stormy seas which, combined with some of the highest tides of the year, would lead to high sea levels and spray coming over sea walls.

Low-lying coastal roads, farmland and isolated houses could be vulnerable to flooding, but the agency is also warning of the possibility of more significant problems.

There are currently 25 flood warnings in place, mostly for coastal areas in the South West and Wales, with one also in the North East, and high tides are likely to lead to more warnings being issued.

Gemma Plumb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said there would be gusts of 50 to 55mph throughout the day along the south west Wales coast and would reach up to 60mph in places, while in Devon and Cornwall they would be between 40 and 55mph.

The Met Office said winds were expected to increase to "gale or severe gale force" on exposed parts of the coast, which could lead to localised disruption to transport.

The Environment Agency said its teams had been out checking flood defences and closing tidal gates ahead of the high tides, and warned people to be careful driving or walking along the coast over the next few days.

People should be particularly careful on exposed areas, where there is a risk of being swept away by waves or being hit by debris thrown up by waves, the agency added.

Last night the band of rain swept across Britain from the south west at about midnight, and is currently drenching the north of England, parts of northern Ireland and Scotland.

Helen Chivers, Met Office spokesman, said: "The band of rain is approaching the north of England and it will stay across Northern Ireland and Scotland today.

"It is looking like it will last most of the day."

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