With multiple severe weather warnings currently in effect across much of the north and west of the UK, the last few days of 2012 look to be cold, wet and miserable for many. The Met Office has issued early alert warnings for snow, rain and high winds, as well as almost one hundred flood warnings that could potentially affect much of the UK.
Transport links all over the country are being affected by the heavy rainfall, and with more rain forecast this week, 2012 is well on its way to being declared the wettest year on record since 1910. Areas already experiencing trouble with localised flooding can expect rising water levels if they fall within the warning zones, with continued disruptions to local transport as a result. Scotland looks set to experience the worst of the weather, with wind, snow and ice predicted, but Northern Ireland, Wales and the north of England can expect further rainfall.
With the forecast return of heavy rains, roads will be affected, making it difficult for those whose livelihoods depend on the road network to complete deliveries. If you’re driving through areas affected by flooding take the time to get your brakes tested, and remember that if your vehicle does begin to aquaplane it’s imperative not to panic and not to slam your brakes on. Aquaplaning rarely lasts for more than a few seconds and simply removing your foot from the accelerator can often be enough to get you through without incident. Try not to change direction unless you really have to, any braking or sudden direction changes could cause your vehicle to swerve uncontrollably. Let your vehicle continue under it’s own momentum and it’s likely it’ll be back under control within seconds.
But it’s not just heavy rains causing problems, strong winds gusting at around 70mph are expected across much of Scotland with ice and snow to accompany. Gale force winds have forced the Met Office to issue severe weather alerts for the shipping lanes surrounding the UK and across to the European coastlines, with gales force 9 winds expected in some areas. Despite the forecast wind and rain, visibility throughout the UK’s maritime area is expected to remain mostly good, dropping to poor occasionally as a squall hits.
Despite rail services being affected, several lines are now back up and running after flooding affected their routes. The main line between South West England and the rest of the country has been reopened, although some branches continue to remain closed until the New Year with a replacement bus service in operation to compensate.