Workers endured a miserable commute today as heavy gales and a fortnight’s worth of rain hit Britain following the arrival of Storm Barbara from Spain.
Meteorologists expect severe gales across the South East, mainly around Kent and Sussex, with gusts of 45mph to 55mph inland and 65mph near the coast as the wind whips in through the English Channel.
And up to 2in (50mm) of rain is set to fall in three to six hours before 2pm, equivalent to more than half the average monthly rainfall in some South East counties.
The most rainfall recorded by the Environment Agency by 10am today was 1.06in (27mm) at Brookfield Farm in Devon, followed by 0.91in (23mm) at West Sedgemoor in Somerset.
This has led to the threat of homes being flooded and delays to train journeys – with the spray on roads to throw bus journeys into jeopardy – and the Met Office warned weather could be ‘unsettled’ for the rest of the week.
Commuters hold umbrellas as they cross London Bridge in the capital this morning and endure a wet commute to work
Vehicles drive on the M3 near Longcross in Surrey this morning after weather warnings have been issued
Storm Barbara swept into southern England in the early hours of this morning (left), bringing rain all day (right)
The Met Office said conditions will be ‘quieter’ tomorrow (left) but more unsettled from Friday (right) with wet weather
Storm Barbara, named by Spanish meteorologists, lashed the Iberian peninsula last night – with some parts of Portugal expected to have seen up to six weeks’ worth of rain in just a few days.
Meanwhile, three flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – have been issued in Loughborough and along parts of the Cornish coast. A further four flood alerts and six warnings are in place for Scotland.
The Met Office has issued warnings running until 5pm today
There are fear that waves will overwhelm sea walls and other coastal defences protecting towns and villages. Many residents have sandbags ready to place by front doors to stop their homes being flooded.
Tomorrow is expected to give Britain some respite from the rain. Brief sunny spells will interpolate the grey skies, but never for long enough for you to leave an umbrella at home.
Instead the highs of 16C (61F) in the South tomorrow will only precede more wet and windy weather this weekend.
Met Office meteorologist Oli Claydon said: ‘From Tuesday evening into the early hours, there will be a band of rain moving in from the South, bringing some at times heavy rain, particularly in the South East, and then following that later in the day, a period of stronger winds, particularly again in the South East.’
Mr Claydon said winds could be particularly strong across ‘exposed coastal locations’ and through the Dover Strait.
‘Any ferry crossings, for instance, could be quite rough,’ he added.
Vehicles drive on the M3 near Longcross in Surrey this morning in the heavy rain after weather warnings were issued
Commuters cross London Bridge in the rain this morning, with Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast in the background
Vehicles drive on the M3 near Longcross in Surrey today as motorists battle through treacherous conditions
Commuters walk across London Bridge while holding umbrellas this morning with the Shard pictured in the background
Vehicles drive on the M3 near Longcross in Surrey this morning amid torrential downpours hitting the South East
Commuters walk near London Bridge train station this morning as they endure a wet journey to work
Commuters face a wet commute to work today across London Bridge as the capital is hit with rain and wind this morning
Members of the public take photos of the autumnal colours on the Japanese maple trees in Morpeth, Northumberland, today
He added: ‘It will be breezy everywhere but the stronger winds are confined to the South East of the UK.
‘That wind and rain clears off into the North Sea and after that we’re left with a continued spell of unsettled conditions across the UK through the week.’
There should also be ‘periods of slightly more settled conditions’ and the occasional sunny spell – but things will remain ‘generally broadly unsettled’ through the weekend.
Last week, it emerged that Britain endured its wettest day on record earlier this month – with enough rainfall to fill Loch Ness.
October 3 brought an average of 31.7mm (1.25in) across the country, the most since records began 129 years ago.
The day of downpours came hours after Storm Alex battered Britain with 90mph gales. It beat the previous record of 29.8mm (1.17in) on August 25, 1986.