Met Office issues four weather warnings for UK as Cyclone Lee brings ‘heavy and persistent rain’
The Met Office has extended its weather warnings for the UK amid the threat of “heavy and persistent rain” from Cyclone Lee.
A total of four heavy rain and flood alerts have been issued for west Wales, parts of the north-west, Scotland and the Highlands. The warnings come after heavy rainfall caused some of the worst flooding parts of west Somerset have seen since the 1960s.
Flights have been grounded, communities quarantined and roads closed amid the peak of severe weather amid a rare thunderstorm warning for Devon and Somerset.
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The threat of heavy rain continues, and rain alerts for Wales and the North West, which were activated at 6am today (September 19), are expected to end at 6pm tomorrow. Forecasters have expanded warnings to include Scotland, where up to 60mm of rain could fall on higher ground.
Hurricane Lee will bring “heavy and persistent” rain to the western regions of the UK today, and the Met Office said the remnants of the cyclone, which hit New England in the US and eastern Canada, will particularly affect parts of western Wales, Cumbria and the Pennines. . It will not become a hurricane by the time it reaches UK shores.
Strong winds will also blow across England and Wales, with coastal storms developing in the west. Butlin holiday resort in Minehead, Somerset, said it would close for four days after its site was damaged by heavy rain. Exeter Airport was also forced to close and cancel its remaining flights on Sunday.
The Met Office said the rain was “very localised”, with the airport seeing 57.4mm of rain, while Swindon in Wiltshire received 90.7mm overnight, with average rainfall for the whole of September in the county being around 61mm. Although there are currently no official weather warnings for parts of the South West and Somerset, Met Office rainfall maps show that heavy rain will move eastwards across the West Country tomorrow, bringing heavy rain to Somerset by mid-morning.
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A number of homes and businesses were flooded throughout West Somerset and Wellington. The council is working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to get an accurate picture of the number of people affected. It is estimated that about a month’s rain falls in one day.
Council teams will be on the ground over the next few days in affected areas to meet residents and businesses. They will collect information, provide advice and identify people who need urgent support.
Highways teams were on site all day Sunday and today participated in the clean-up operation.
“This is truly shocking for those residents and businesses who have been affected. Somerset Council’s lead member for transport and digital, Councilor Mike Rigby, said: “We don’t know the full extent yet but teams are working hard to build a clearer picture.”