UK on alert for worst storm in five years


The Brighton seafront, in southern England on October 27, 2013 as a predicted storm starts to build.



Weather forecasters warned that the worst storm the United Kingdom has seen in five years will drench England and parts of Wales starting Sunday evening.

The UK’s Met Office predicted 20 to 40 millimeters of rain within six to nine hours overnight and wind gusts exceeding 80 miles per hour in some areas. Sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour would make the storm a Category 1 hurricane.

Officials warned that the storm, named St. Jude, could knock down trees, cause flooding and disrupt travel.

The UK's Environment Agency issued three flood warnings and 46 flood alerts for England and Wales.

“You could see some pretty gusty conditions, especially for people traveling in the morning rush hour,” Dan Williams, a spokesman for the UK’s Met Office, told Bloomberg Businessweek. “We’d advise people to check the conditions before they go out, look at local news reports and really consider whether they can delay their journey for a couple of hours.

The storm is “likely to cause disruption to flights at Heathrow including cancellations,” London’s Heathrow Airport said in a statement. “Passengers due to travel on Monday should check the status of their flight with their airline before traveling to the airport.”

The storm is also expected to hit western France on Sunday night and Normandy and Nord-Pas de Calais by Monday morning. Mateo France said wind gusts may exceed 80 miles per hour on the Brittany and Channel coasts.

The Netherlands will experience hurricane-force winds along the coast as well, weather forecasters said.

Chris Burton, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, predicted the worst of the fast-moving storm will be over in England by Monday lunchtime.