Storm Dennis will now batter the UK for three days, the Met Office said in an upgraded weather warning. More than a month’s rain is expected to fall in just 36 hours while many places are set to be battered by 70mph winds.
Forecasters have issued a host of yellow and amber weather warnings for Saturday morning into next week. They have warned of major transport disruption and flooding to communities already hit by last weekend’s Storm Ciara.
Forecaster Bonnie Diamond told Metro.co.uk: "We are in for another period of wet and windy weather this weekend.
"Storm Ciara brought widespread windy weather and some rain whereas with Storm Dennis the focus will be on the impact of the rain. We have amber warnings out for a danger to life. ‘In those areas we could see over 100mm of rain in 36 hours over the weekend.
"The average rainfall is 88mm for the entire month of February. So we want to get the message out to people to keep an eye on the warnings and take precautions this weekend."
The UK woke up to its coldest morning of the year so far on Wednesday, as temperatures plunged to -10.2C in Braemar, Aberdeenshire. Thursday morning saw snow in southern Scotland and northern England while other parts of the UK were hit with heavy showers, hail and thunder.
Today (14 February) there is a yellow alert for rain and snow melt across southern Scotland from 9am to 5pm that could affect roads and train and bus services. Wet and windy conditions will also sweep across the whole country and temperatures will struggle to get into double figures. The worst of the weather arrives on Saturday morning with Storm Dennis hitting Northern Ireland around 8am and moving eastwards.
It is caused by an area of low pressure that is currently off the east coast of the USA and moving across the Atlantic. The eye of the storm will sit just south of Iceland over the weekend but the UK will feel its wrath.
The Met Office said wind speeds will not be as strong as Storm Ciara, which saw 97mph hit parts of Wales last Sunday. But Storm Dennis is bringing warm air along with it and this added moisture ‘is one of the reasons why the rainfall is likely to be heavier and why there is a greater risk of flooding.’
There are three amber and two yellow weather warnings for rain and wind across all of England, Wales and southern England for Saturday. The rain will start as patchy in the south and heavy in Scotland and Northern Ireland but cover all of the UK by the middle of the afternoon.
Winds of 50mph are expected inland but will reach 70mph in coastal areas amid concerns about people getting hit by high waves. Temperatures are likely to rise into double digits because of the warmer air but forecasters said ‘it is unlikely to feel all that pleasant.’
Storm Dennis is hanging around for Sunday too and there are weather warnings across all of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Amber alerts are in place across most of England for rain, including Yorkshire which saw hundreds of properties flooded as rivers burst their banks during Storm Ciara.
The Met Office said 100mm of rain will fall over the weekend and "it’s a very soggy Sunday indeed." Public transport is very likely to be affected because of heavy rain, falling trees and damage to power lines. Ferries, trains, buses and planes are likely to be subject to cancellations and delays while the AA has warned of "hazardous driving conditions."
AA spokesman Ben Sheridan said the forecast "looks bleak" and noted many people had heeded the warnings not to travel last weekend because of Storm Ciara. He added: "For those who are braving the storm, drivers should make sure they account for the conditions. Slow down, allow for greater stopping distances and watch out for potential hazards.
"Take extra care when passing high-sided vehicles, cyclists and motorbikes and watch out for sudden gusts which can blow debris, trees and even damaged vehicles into your path.
"With heavy rain forecast we can also expect increased spray and flooding which can bring road closures. ‘Follow diversions when instructed and never risk trying to drive through flood water – it can be deceptively deep and hide other dangers in the road."
Storm Dennis will move eastwards away from the UK overnight into Monday but, sadly, it is replaced by yet more wet weather on waterlogged ground. Gusts of up 70mph are expected in the northern half of the UK early next week too.