Storm Bella is forecast to hit the region on Boxing Day – Saturday, December 26 - bringing with it strong winds and heavy rain.
Numerous Met Office weather warnings are in place across the UK over the coming days, as conditions become “increasingly unsettled through Saturday and into Sunday, with strengthening winds and heavy rain moving in from the north.”
Strong south-westerly winds will develop across parts of northern England and the far south of Scotland on Saturday afternoon, before transferring south-eastwards across the rest of England and Wales into Sunday morning (27 Dec). These will then clear by early Sunday afternoon.
The Met Office forecasts that inland gusts of 50 to 60mph are likely, with the potential for 60 to 70mph in some locations. Hills and coasts which are exposed to the south-westerly winds could also see gusts of 70 to 80mph.
Deputy Chief Meteorologist Tony Wardle said: “Conditions will turn very unsettled after Christmas day, with a large area of low pressure sweeping across the UK from Boxing Day. Very strong winds will impact much of England and Wales, with particularly strong gusts on south west facing coasts.”
Alongside strong winds, a period of heavy rain will also affect western and southern areas on Boxing Day.
“Heavy rain will also move in from the north, with heavy downpours through the afternoon in Scotland and Northern Ireland moving south across England and Wales overnight,” said Mr Wardle.
“This will be a notable change from the calmer conditions over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so take extra care and stay up to date with the latest forecast.”
Christmas Day will see a ridge of higher pressure keeping conditions more settled.
Some showers will affect eastern England early in the day, with a “possibility of the odd flake of snow, technically making it a white Christmas, however it is not expected to settle.”
A Met Office amber national severe weather warning has been issued for parts of south Wales and across southern England, with gusts expected to reach up to 60 to 70mph in some locations.
A yellow warning for wind for the whole of England and Wales, alongside the far south of Scotland, has also been issued. This warning will be in force from 3pm on Saturday until noon on Sunday.
A yellow warning for rain has been issued for parts of Scotland, Wales and much of north and south west England, “particularly where there has already been flooding from recent heavy rain,” the Met Office said.
“Combined with strong winds, the rain will lead to some hazardous travelling conditions.”