Storm Eva set to hit North West with 70mph winds and rain

Gale force winds and heavy rain
Gale force winds and heavy rain
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Storm Eva is set to batter the North West in the run-up to Christmas Day with rain and winds up to 70mph as the region is still reeling from the effects of Storm Desmond.

The bad weather forecast has prompted 15 more warnings from the Met Office amid fears of further flooding across the North West, as well as concerns about effects on transport and communication.

Flood warnings are now in place across large swathes of the North West, Wales and the North East, with the threats unlikely to reduce in the near future.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “There is currently the possibility for further unsettled weather during the festive period which could lead to some disruption in the North of England.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will issue further flood alerts and warnings if required.”

However, while many parts of the UK are braced for heavy rain and wind, the weather remains unseasonably warm, with temperatures only expected to fall slightly in the coming days, with thermometers still recording double figures - dashing hopes for a white Christmas.

The Met Office said: “After the mild, unsettled start to December it looks likely this theme will continue through until the end of the year with some spells of windy, wet weather but also drier, brighter periods with some showers.

“Although temperatures will remain above average, there will be some cooler days and nights with wintry showers possible over hills and mountains in the north of the UK and some overnight frosts.

“Going into Christmas Eve, a low pressure system to the north west of the UK will bring a spell of wet and windy weather for most, with gales or severe gales in the north west of the UK and perhaps locally storm force winds over parts of the Outer Hebrides.”

Claire Austin, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: “It will be breezy but in the evening it will pick up in the North West, bringing rain. This will hit most western areas by Christmas Eve morning before sweeping eastwards.”

Gales will reach 60mph in parts of Wales overnight into Christmas Eve, reaching 70mph in the Western Isles. Gusts will reach up to 60mph in Scotland, 50mph in Wales and 30-40mph in more central and eastern areas, forecasters predict.

Temperatures on Thursday will be similar to today, reaching around 13C (55F) in the South East and 6C (43F) to 7C (45F) in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Christmas Day itself will see a band of rain coming in from the South West in the morning, pushing through to affect the rest of England, Wales and Northern Ireland throughout the day. It will remain breezy, but gusts are expected to drop to no more than 35mph.