Weather warning: Hurricane force winds and torrential rain followed by snow?



There's little respite for Britain after the Big Freeze, as the Big Thaw brings gale-force winds and heavy downpours.

The good news? Temperatures this week will increase significantly, with highs of around 14C predicted at Heathrow on Wednesday, and up to 12C further north.

Leon Brown, meteorologist at The Weather Channel, says severe gales are expected for Wednesday morning for the north of Scotland. Whilst it will be a blustery day for most of the UK on Wednesday, the south and east will remain largely dry.

He told Aol Travel that the gales and heavy rain will hit harder further south on Friday (1 February), with south west England and Wales set for 70mph gusts.

He explained: "The main story is what happens on Friday. A deepening low pressure system will move east from the Atlantic and on a more southerly track. It looks like it will move across the south of Ireland to South Wales and then south east England during the day. The track is a little further north than earlier forecasts and will bring a lot of precipitation across the south of Ireland to Wales and central and south west England. These areas are likely to see 25 to 50mm.

"Also, Friday will see strong to gale-force winds and severe gales over parts of Wales and south west England in the evening from the north. Gusts could be in excess of 70mph, and may reach more than 50mph across the Midlands and northern England from the north east."

But, he adds, there could even be a return of the white stuff on Friday: "A cold undercut from the NE will turn the rain to sleet and snow, especially above around 200m in Wales, Midlands and northern England in the evening. Potential for some heavy snowfalls over the higher parts of Wales, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire with 10 to 20cm and significant drifting above 300m."

The weekend is set to be calmer but more snow and blizzards may be possible next week.

Leon added: "Early next week, strong north western winds may bring heavy snowfalls and blizzards to higher ground in Scotland with snow showers spreading south to central Britain by Tuesday."

The end of the Big Freeze has seen some devastating effects, with large parts of the country on flood alert.

Buildings have flooded and travel chaos ensued as the meltwater was swollen by rain, and rivers across the country broke their banks, according to the Daily Mail.

The paper adds that the Met Office has issued weather warnings for south west England and much of Scotland this week, predicting Devon and South Wales will suffer with "localised flooding and disruption to travel".

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