A “danger to life” wind warning has been issued for parts of the UK with the remnants of former hurricane Helene expected to slam into the country early next week.
Currently a tropical storm, Helene is bringing 80mph gusts that could send debris flying, disrupt travel and cut power to thousands of homes and businesses.
The Met Office said: “Storm Helene is expected to push north-east towards the UK late Monday, before clearing quickly to the north of Scotland through Tuesday morning.
“There remains large uncertainty in Helene’s exact track, however a spell of very strong winds is expected, initially for parts of south-west England and west Wales, then later south-west Scotland and the south-east of Northern Ireland.
“Winds are likely to gust to 55-65 mph quite widely in the warning area, with possible gusts of 70-80 mph in exposure.”
It said the dangers are:
- Injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible.
- Road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations possible.
- Some roads and bridges may close. Fallen trees may be an additional hazard.
- There is a small chance that injuries could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts.
- There is a chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
As of Friday morning, the wind warning is in effect from Monday at 6pm to Tuesday at 12pm for the following areas:
- North West England: Blackpool, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside
- Northern Ireland: County Down
- SW Scotland, Lothian Borders: Dumfries and Galloway
- Strathclyde: East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire
- South West England: Cornwall, Devon, Isles of Scilly, Somerset
- Wales: Bridgend, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwyned, dIsle of Anglesey, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Swansea, Vale of Glamorgan
On Friday morning, Tropical Storm Helene was bearing down on the Azores Islands in the Atlantic.
The government of Portugal had issued a tropical storm warning for the archipelago.
The US National Hurricane Center said: “A turn toward the northeast is expected over the weekend. On the forecast track, Helene will pass near or over the Azores late Saturday or Sunday.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.
“Gradual weakening is expected after Helene becomes a post-tropical cyclone over the weekend.
“Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the centre.”
The warnings were issued as Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc on the US East Coast, flooding homes with a 10ft storm surge.