20 Dec 2016

Storm Barbara threatens Christmas travel disruption

Storm Barbara, the second named storm of the season, has officially been named by the Met Office today.

It is expected to pass just to the north west of the UK during Friday and early Saturday, bringing stormy weather to northern areas, giving heavy rain and potentially damaging gusts of wind.

Storm Barbara pressure chart for Friday: Met Office

The worst of the winds are likely to affect north west Scotland, where the Met Office has issued an amber “be prepared” warning.

However, many northern parts of the UK are also covered by a yellow “be aware” warning.

Severe gales likely

As the storm passes to the north west of the UK during Friday, a swathe of severe gales are likely to sweep across Scotland, as well as parts of Northern Ireland, northern England and north Wales.

Gusts of wind are widely expected to reach 60-70mph from midday onwards, with the strongest gusts around the coasts and over the hills.

North west Scotland will see even stronger winds, where they’ll widely reach 80mph, with 90mph gusts in the most exposed locations.

What will the impacts be?

In the worst affected areas, covered by the amber warning, travel disruption, loss of power and some building damage is likely.

Elsewhere across northern parts of the UK, there’ll be difficult travel conditions, possible disruption and maybe some branches broken off trees.

Friday is likely to be the busiest travel day of the year, as people across the country set off by road, rail, air and sea to reach their Christmas destinations.

Why so stormy?

Storm Barbara is being caused by a powerful jet stream, 30,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean, travelling at speeds of around 200mph.

200mph jet stream (pink) 30,000ft above Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Tidbits

Such a fast-moving jet stream will develop deep areas of low pressure, before catapulting them towards us in the run up to Christmas.

Whilst Storm Barbara’s arrival on Friday looks set to bring the windiest spell this week, it’ll be windy and unsettled right up until Christmas – possibly just after too.

There’ll also be some snow falling over the hills and mountains of Scotland for a time during Wednesday and Thursday, as cold air moves through temporarily.

As the week progresses, the detail about Storm Barbara will be fined tuned, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the forecast in the coming days.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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