Met Office weather warning: Britain told to brace for torrential downpours and gale force winds in NEXT 12 hours
Met Office warns strong winds and heavy rain will disrupt much of the country overnight and into Sunday
The Met Office has issued a string of weather warnings for the UK with heavy rain and strong winds set to lash the country.
A huge Atlantic storm dubbed 'The Beast of the North Atlantic' will sweep across Britain overnight, bringing up to three inches of rain in some areas.
The Met Office warned there would be spray and flooding on roads, making journey times longer with bus and train services likely to be delayed until well into Sunday.
It also said homes and businesses would be flooded. The warnings cover a huge swathe of southern England and Wales, as well as much of Scotland.
It warned: "Rain developing across south Wales and southwest England during Saturday afternoon will move slowly east overnight.
"Although the most persistent rain is expected over hills, periods of heavy rain are expected almost anywhere. 15-25 mm is expected quite widely, with some places seeing 40-60 mm of rain, particularly over hills in south Wales and southwest England.
"Strong winds will accompany the rain, with gusts of 45-55 mph over hills and around coasts.
"Although it is expected to become drier for a time, there is a chance for further rain to redevelop during daytime on Sunday, particularly across southeast England."
The Met Office warned flooding was extremely likely with four yellow warnings in place - in Climping, West Sussex; areas next to the River Nene, east of Peterborough; the River Severn near Sandhurst and Maisemore; and the market town of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. It announced 48 flood alerts across an area covering most of Wales and southern England.
Newly released weather charts from French forecaster Meteociel showed the extent of likely disruption, which huge swathes of the UK facing very strong gusts and the prospect of falling trees, as well as significant downpours.
The 'disruptive' heavy rain and strong winds come as fresh rail strikes have forced even more people onto Britain's roads this weekend.
Members of Aslef with 11 train operators walked out on Saturday, causing huge disruption, with the industry warning of “significantly reduced” services across the country.
Passengers were urged to plan ahead and check before they travel throughout the whole weekend. Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said progress in talks aimed at resolving the dispute had been “incredibly slow”.
He said: “We don’t want to be in this position, but no-one is listening to us. Our members did not receive a pay rise during the pandemic and we are being told that train companies can’t afford more than a 2% rise.
“Only the Government can take the shackles off the employers. We are in this for the long haul – and our members want us to go harder and faster.”
Mr Whelan is due to meet Transport Secretary Mark Harper next week to discuss the dispute.
Daniel Mann, director of industry operations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The strike by Aslef brings more uncertainty for passengers and businesses by disrupting their weekend plans.
“While we will do all that we can to minimise disruption, if you are going to travel on the routes affected, please plan ahead and check the latest travel advice on National Rail Inquiries."