Flights cancelled as Storm Kathleen brings 70mph winds – and parts of UK set to bask in 22C heat

Storm Kathleen is expected to bring heavy gusts and rain - and the highest temperatures of year so far, as it hits the UK today.

Pushing in from the Atlantic, the storm is set to bring gusts up to 70mph to Northern Ireland and the west of Britain as temperatures could reach up to 22C (72F) in the east.

Large waves are also likely to strike parts of the coastline, with some heavy rainfall striking overnight into Saturday morning.

A yellow weather warning for wind is in effect from 8am to 10pm, and covers Cornwall, much of Wales, parts of Lancashire and Cumbria, and up into central Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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Pic: Met Office
Pic: Met Office

As of Friday evening, the Environment Agency issued 15 flood warnings – where flooding is “expected” – and 124 flood alerts in England.

Forty-three red cautions for strong streams on the River Thames, advising boat users not to navigate through the London waterway, are also in place.

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National Resources Wales issued four flood alerts in regions to the north and west of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.

The Met Office’s shipping forecast has 20 gale warnings in place for sea areas including Viking, Plymouth, Biscay, Sole and Lundy.

Pic: Environment Agency
Pic: Environment Agency

Pic: National Resources Wales
Pic: National Resources Wales

In its weather alert, the Met Office said Storm Kathleen is expected to bring winds of between 50mph and 60mph quite widely, while some Irish Sea coastal regions will see gusts of up to 70mph.

It warned there was a risk of “injuries and danger to life” from large waves and beach material being thrown on to sea fronts, coastal roads and properties.

Road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations possible.

There could also be power cuts and mobile phone coverage may be affected.

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Hottest day of the year

While winds are high across the UK, Met Office meteorologist Ellie Glaisyer said that temperatures are likely to reach up to 22C (72F) in East Anglia – which would make Saturday the hottest day of the year so far.

She explained that Storm Kathleen “is the reason we are seeing the warmer temperatures, because the location of the storm – situated out towards the west of the UK – is bringing a southerly wind across the UK”.

Ms Glaisyer added that “the further west you are, where those strongest winds are in that yellow warning area, despite the temperatures being above average it will feel a little colder”.

Waves crashing in Dover, Kent, during Storm Ciaran in November 2023. File pic: PA
Waves crashing in Dover, Kent, during Storm Ciaran in November 2023. File pic: PA

The highest temperature of the year so far was 19.9C (68F), recorded at the end of January at Achfary in northwest Scotland.

London is set to experience 20C (68F) by midday, making it hotter than Nice in France and Portugal’s capital Lisbon which will reach 18C and 17C respectively, according to Met Office forecasts.

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Storm Kathleen has been named by Ireland’s national forecaster Met Eireann, which has issued its own warnings covering the whole country and urged the public to be “vigilant”.

Cork, Kerry, Galway and Mayo are under an amber alert, meaning “very difficult travel conditions” and potential fallen trees, power outages and coastal flooding.

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