GALE force winds are set to batter parts of Scotland on Friday, with gusts of up to 80mph causing travel disruption as people make their way home from family Christmas gatherings.
The Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” warnings covering all of the country, while tens of thousands of households in the east and south-east of England left without power over Christmas are bracing themselves for a fresh deluge.
After Boxing Day brought respite from the severe conditions, the weather was due to worsen significantly late last night, turning wet and very windy in the west at first with outbreaks of heavy rain spreading across all areas by dawn.
Gales or severe gales are forecast in western areas, and although rain is due to clear across most of the country by midday, winds will remain strong across the north and the west, with gusts of up to 80mph in parts of Scotland’s west coast and 50 to 60mph inland.
Helen Roberts, a forecaster with the Met Office, said: “We have another strong storm pushing in from the west overnight and another on Friday. It is going to bring a spell of rain and very strong winds in places. The rain will fall on already saturated ground following Monday’s storm, so that is going to bring new problems.”
Ms Roberts warned of gales in the west coast “strong enough to bring down trees, especially if they have been loosened because of the weather this week.
“Lots of people are going to be travelling around, so we would urge them to keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts before they leave the house.”
The Met Office yellow warnings show high winds and heavy rain forecast for Lothian and Borders, Strathclyde, Central Scotland, Tayside, Fife, Grampian and the south-west. There are also warnings of high winds in Orkney and Shetland, the Highlands and the Western Isles.
Some 13 flood warnings have been issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency across Tayside, where river levels are expected to rise quickly.
The agency has also put in place flood alerts covering Central Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders and Dundee and Angus.
At the height of the storm late on Christmas Eve, 3,500 homes in Scotland lost electricity. The areas worst affected by the gale force winds were Aboyne and Banchory in Aberdeenshire and Elgin and Lhanbryde in Moray.
Conditions were even worse in England, where many thousands of people were left without power and hundreds were affected by floods over Christmas.
The Environment Agency has warned of further significant flooding in parts of southern England, with severe flood warnings in place on the Stour in Dorset. About 13,000 homes remained without power yesterday and engineers say some may not be reconnected until the end of the week.
Meanwhile, around 700 skiers and snowboarders took to the slopes of Cairn Gorm as resort staff cleared snowdrifts from the access road to the ski centre.