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A 260-mile stretch of Britain has been slapped with a tornado warning lasting until the early hours of Sunday by a specialist forecaster that predicts cyclones.

Analysts at the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (TORRO) have warned that much of England and the entirety of Wales should brace for ‘severe thunderstorms’ that could spin out ‘isolated tornadoes’, gusts of up to 70mph and 2cm hailstones.

The fresh warning comes just after a storm in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester was confirmed by forecasters to be a cyclone that damaged over 100 houses, tearing off roofs and blowing trees into roadways.

And it comes hot on the heels of Met Office predictions that gusts of up to 75mph to batter other parts of the UK overnight, with temperatures in some areas tumbling as low as minus 9C.

TORRO is a 40-year-old private research body specialising in the prediction and observation of extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hailstones.

Tornado warning for huge 260-mile stretch of UK with 75mph winds, snow, rain, frost and minus 9C freeze on way before New Year

The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation has issued a ‘tornado watch’ alert covering much of England and Wales

A house in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester that was hit by what forecasters say was a tornado during Storm Gerrit on Wednesday

A house in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester that was hit by what forecasters say was a tornado during Storm Gerrit on Wednesday

Snow falls covering the roads in the Shawlands area of Glasgow today as the UK battles with the remnants of Storm Gerrit

Snow falls covering the roads in the Shawlands area of Glasgow today as the UK battles with the remnants of Storm Gerrit 

Worcestershire County Cricket Club was left under water today after the River Severn burst its banks

Worcestershire County Cricket Club was left under water today after the River Severn burst its banks 

A windsurfer battles strong gusts in the sea off Avon Beach in Dorset, as some areas expect to see gales of 75mph

A windsurfer battles strong gusts in the sea off Avon Beach in Dorset, as some areas expect to see gales of 75mph 

The King's Arms pub saw water up to its windows this morning after the River Ouse burst in York

The King’s Arms pub saw water up to its windows this morning after the River Ouse burst in York

In England, there are currently 31 flood warnings, where flooding is expected, and 97 flood alerts, where flooding is possible

In England, there are currently 31 flood warnings, where flooding is expected, and 97 flood alerts, where flooding is possible

The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning for southern England and Wales from 11am until 3am on Sunday

The Met Office has issued a yellow wind warning for southern England and Wales from 11am until 3am on Sunday

Its latest forecast predicts that there will be ‘intense rain’ on the weather front as it approaches the south west of England tonight, covering the centre and east of the country as it progresses throughout the evening.

There may also be the risk of mesocyclones, spinning vortexes of air that occur within storms in which tornadoes – funnels of viciously rotating air stretching from storm clouds to the Earth’s surface – can develop. 

TORRO said of these: ‘These will assist in bringing strong wind gusts in places, perhaps to 60-70mph. There will also be the risk of isolated tornadoes.’

It added that the risk of tornadoes was ‘low’ — but added that it would be monitoring southern and south-east England, as well as parts of the East Midlands and East Anglia, for a ‘possible tornado watch’.

Tornadoes in the UK are rare. The Met Office estimates that there are around 30 reported across the country each year, and they are typically short-lived.

But a tornado that formed during Storm Gerritt earlier this week wreaked havoc on more than 100 homes in Greater Manchester just before midnight on Wednesday.

A supercell thunderstorm – the type that develops a mesocyclone, which itself can produce tornadoes – barrelled across Stalybridge, blowing out windows, tearing off roofs and blowing over walls.

Residents described seeing ‘things flying around, roof tiles knocking off’ and the Met Office later said: ‘A tornado at the surface was likely.’

Revellers seeing in 2024 will have to wrap up warm and hold onto their party-hats with snow expected to cover much of Scotland, while a ‘harsh frost’ will settle further south. 

A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued by the Met Office in some regions, with heavy downpours expected to cause flooding and travel chaos.

This morning, cars were seen stranded in York after the River Ouse burst its banks overnight, while the King’s Arms Pub in the city had floodwater up to its windows.

In Worcestershire kayakers were seen paddling along the flooded track at Worcester Racecourse after the River Severn burst its banks following days of heavy rain.

In England, the Environment Agency has issued 31 flood warnings, where flooding is expected, and 97 flood alerts, where flooding is possible.

Meanwhile in Scotland, which has been heavily impacted by Storm Gerrit, there are five flood alerts and six flood warnings. In Wales, there are 11 flood alerts.

Widespread flooding was seen in York this morning after the River Ouse burst

Widespread flooding was seen in York this morning after the River Ouse burst 

Cars stranded in a flooded car park in York this morning after the River Ouse broke its banks rising to 4.3 metres

Cars stranded in a flooded car park in York this morning after the River Ouse broke its banks rising to 4.3 metres 

Flooding on Worcestershire County Cricket Club's new ground after the River Severn burst its banks

Flooding on Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s new ground after the River Severn burst its banks 

Kayakers make their way around the flooded track at Worcester Racecourse

Kayakers make their way around the flooded track at Worcester Racecourse

Low pressure will bring more wet and windy weather to the UK and warnings for heavy rain, strong winds and snow have been issued for this weekend

Low pressure will bring more wet and windy weather to the UK and warnings for heavy rain, strong winds and snow have been issued for this weekend

The Met Office released a video of the low pressure coming in across the weekend, with the above forecast for New Year's Eve

The Met Office released a video of the low pressure coming in across the weekend, with the above forecast for New Year’s Eve

Millions of Britons are set for a for a New Year's Eve washout as parts of the UK brace for 75mph gales, flooding and even snow. Pictured: Flooding around Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire

Millions of Britons are set for a for a New Year’s Eve washout as parts of the UK brace for 75mph gales, flooding and even snow. Pictured: Flooding around Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire

A yellow weather warning for ice across the north and north west of Scotland will remain in place until 10am this morning, while a yellow warning for rain will remain in place until midnight. 

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said northern areas of Scotland are likely to see ‘significant snow’, with possibly up to eight inches on the highest ground. 

The Met Office has also issued a yellow warning for rain across parts of Northern Ireland, running through to 11am, with 15 to 25mm of rain falling in a few hours. 

In a forecast video, Mr Burkill said ‘a touch of frost is likely’ overnight into Saturday and there is a deep area of low pressure waiting out in the Atlantic that is going to sweep its way across the UK this weekend.

He said: ‘Towards the far east of Scotland, particularly Shetland, it is going to be a windy picture with frequent showers.’

Some frost is ‘possible’ in the south, particularly towards the east, while ‘a more widespread harsh frost’ is expected in some parts of Scotland.

Temperatures could plummet to ‘as low as minus 8C or 9C, perhaps a little colder than that,’ the forecaster added. 

Drone footage has shown that parts of the UK have already faced major flooding, including at a racecourse in Worcester after the River Severn burst its banks.

Huge parts of flood prone town of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire have also been submerged by water as Britain continues to battle with unsettled weather.

More flooding is expected in England over the next five days, especially in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber until Tuesday. 

Flooding is also possible across parts of the south west and across the Midlands and the north today and Sunday.

It comes as the Met Office issued a wind warning for southern England and Wales from 11am until 3am on Sunday; while rain warnings were activated for Wales from 10am and 6pm and Northern Ireland between 4am and 11am.

An active cold front will move east across England and Wales today and into Sunday which will widely bring gusts of 45 to 50mph, but some reaching 60mph and the strongest near coasts in the west and south with 65 to 75mph in places.

Meteorologists expect flooding, power cuts and disruption to roads, trains, planes and ferries as well as delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges.

Up to 50mm (2in) of rain could fall in North West Wales with 25mm (1in) quite widely elsewhere in the country, while Northern Ireland was told to brace for up to 25mm (1in) in a few hours with warnings that the downpours will fall on saturated ground.

Separately, a warning for sleet, snow and rain in Scotland was issued for Scotland  between 8am and midnight, with up to 10cm (4in) of the white stuff across higher ground and 3cm (1.2in) even on lower ground as well as 25mm (1in) of rain.

The Met Office said its Irish counterpart, Met Eireann, could name another storm – Storm Henk – after Storm Gerrit sparked days of travel chaos following Christmas.

Rail operators told revellers to travel to parties today amid concerns over further disruption and staff shortages when severe weather strikes in the next two days – with one operator issuing a ‘do not travel’ alert for some routes on New Year’s Eve.

Storm Gerrit hammering the seafront at Porthcawl on the South Wales coast this morning

 Storm Gerrit hammering the seafront at Porthcawl on the South Wales coast this morning 

Flooding around Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire today after heavy rain from the storm 

A Knottingley Canoe Club member makes their way down the River Ouse in flooded York today

A Knottingley Canoe Club member makes their way down the River Ouse in flooded York today

Northern, which runs 2,500 services through 500 stations daily, said customers with tickets for New Year’s Eve could use them today to avoid disruption.

The UK’s second largest train operator issued a ‘do not travel’ warning for six routes with no service on New Year’s Eve – including Morecambe or Heysham to Lancaster; Preston to Colne; Manchester Victoria to Chester; Manchester Piccadilly to Chester via Altrincham; Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge; and Clitheroe to Bolton.

Travel continued to be affected by the storm today, with rail disruption in Wales and Scotland – while LNER cancelled some trains this morning due to staff shortages and other services faced speed restrictions due to a signalling fault north of Newcastle. 

CrossCountry was operating a reduced service due to a ‘shortage of train crew’.

Avanti West Coast passengers also faced further cancellations today after all London Euston trains were axed yesterday afternoon amid four separate incidents including a person being hit by a train, a points failure, a tree falling on the line and flooding.

Other disruption today included on London Underground’s Central and Circle lines due to train shortages and cancellations; Merseyrail due to a signalling fault; and on East Midlands Railway due to a broken down train at Grimsby. 

Southeastern was also delayed between Ebbsfleet and St Pancras due to a signalling issue.

Earlier in the week, Greater Manchester Police declared a major incident after a supercell thunderstorm hit the Tameside town of Stalybridge. 

A tornado damaged 100 homes, sent trees toppling ‘like dominoes’ and wrote off cars as flying debris caused major structural damage while residents hid under their duvets. 

Elsewhere, three men died after their 4×4 vehicle was submerged in a river, near Glaisdale in North Yorkshire.

A period of sleet and snow, turning to rain, may lead to some flooding and travel disruption.

Bus and train services may be affected, with journey times taking longer, with some spray and flooding on roads. Some interruption to power services is also likely.

Hundreds of homes in Scotland remain without power as the post-storm clean-up continues, but electricity bosses are ‘very confident’ the remaining properties will be reconnected on Friday.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said that as of 4pm on Friday, electricity supplies had been successfully restored to more than 47,000 properties, with 250 still off supply.

Andy Smith, operations director at SSEN Distribution, said on Friday: ‘Our teams have continued to make excellent progress today in restoring customers impacted by Storm Gerrit, in the face of continued challenging conditions.

People under umbrellas as they go for a punt on the River Cam in the Cambridge rain yesterday

People under umbrellas as they go for a punt on the River Cam in the Cambridge rain yesterday

Water is pumped out of a house in York this morning after the River Ouse burst its banks

Water is pumped out of a house in York this morning after the River Ouse burst its banks 

Tewkesbury Cricket Club's pavilion is surrounded by floodwater yesterday following heavy rain

Tewkesbury Cricket Club’s pavilion is surrounded by floodwater yesterday following heavy rain 

‘We recognise this has been a difficult couple of days for the customers still affected and I’m grateful to them for their continued patience and support as our teams work extremely hard to restore power.

‘Up to now we’ve targeted our restoration plan on repairing the faults that will reconnect the greatest number of customers and those who have been without power the longest.

‘Today, we face a number of complex and very localised faults, and whilst we’re still encountering some access challenges, we’re pressing on to reconnect those final customers affected.

‘I’d therefore like to reassure our customers that all our teams have been directed to these last few remaining areas of damage for this final push.

‘Our established welfare policy is active, offering reimbursement for meals and accommodation, for those who’re eligible, and we’re speaking to our most vulnerable customers to offer them tailored support.

‘Anyone who may need additional help or advice should contact our dedicated teams on the power cut helpline, 105.’

Chaotic scenes at London Euston once again yesterday as passengers wait for travel updates

Chaotic scenes at London Euston once again yesterday as passengers wait for travel updates

Rail passengers queue to get inside Glasgow Central yesterday for a London-bound train

Rail passengers queue to get inside Glasgow Central yesterday for a London-bound train

Passengers wait at a barrier at London Paddington yesterday while all services are suspended

Passengers wait at a barrier at London Paddington yesterday while all services are suspended

Damaged houses in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, yesterday after Wednesday's tornado

Damaged houses in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, yesterday after Wednesday’s tornado

Flooded fields on the Somerset Levels yesterday after Storm Gerrit brought severe weather

Flooded fields on the Somerset Levels yesterday after Storm Gerrit brought severe weather

Residents in the Kinloss Park area of Cupar in Scotland clean up yesterday after flooding

Residents in the Kinloss Park area of Cupar in Scotland clean up yesterday after flooding 

Travellers could face disruption across the rail network on Saturday, with operators urging passengers to check their journeys before setting off.

Andy Page, Met Office chief forecaster, said: ‘Parts of the higher ground of Scotland may see temporary snow accumulations of 5-10cm (1-2in), while up to 25mm (just under 1in) of rain is expected in Wales, Northern Ireland and lower levels in Scotland.

‘Across Wales and southern England, wind gusts of 45-50mph are likely to be quite widespread, while gusts of 65-75mph are possible in the most exposed coastal areas.’



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