Weather maps show Storm Babet’s path of destruction with 70mph winds and floods

A storm is set to cause chaos in the UK from Wednesday as rail operators cancel services amid 70mph winds and flood warnings.

Storm Babet is going to hit Britain from tonight, with a month’s worth of rain falling as Network Rail warns speed restrictions could be put in place. The storm has been escalated to an amber warning with a danger to life in some areas.

The Met Office confirmed that the storm is expected to bring up to 200mm of rain and gale-force winds that could wreak havoc in the UK.

Amber weather warnings are in force from Wednesday until Saturday, with the alert likely to be escalated to red in some parts of Scotland. Maps during this period show a huge wall of wind and rain barrelling across Britain. 

Forecasters said gale-force gusts could occur along the coasts of Wales and South West England, as well as to the west of higher ground areas such as Dartmoor in southern Devon and Eryri in North West Wales.

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Travel disruption is expected across the UK as National Rail already put warnings in place for CrossCountry and Great Western Railway services between Exeter, Paignton and Plymouth from 5.50pm today.

CrossCountry said no trains will be in place between Exeter and Plymouth from 6.30pm today until 11.30am tomorrow due to conditions.

With a high risk of flooding and strong winds also forecast, there are risks that trees could uproot and fall on the tracks.

Weather specialists are said to be discussing whether speed restrictions should be introduced in Scotland this week.

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Jim Dale, a senior meteorologist for British Weather Services, told “This is much more a rain event than a wind one, beyond any majorly gusts. For me, western parts of the UK will be worst hit, in line first for 25-50mm of rain from Wednesday to Thursday.

“But Grampians, Angus & Lothian are the main target areas from Thursday to Friday with 100-200mm of rain expected. It may spill over into the central belt.”

The Met Office has highlighted the storm’s track – which will move from the west tonight.

Deputy chief meteorologist, Steven Keates said: “Storm Babet will bring impactful rain to many parts of the UK, but especially parts of eastern Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England later this week. 

“Heavy and persistent rain will fall onto already saturated ground bringing a risk of flooding. As well as heavy rain, Storm Babet will bring some very strong winds and large waves near some eastern coasts too. Gusts in excess of 60mph are possible in eastern and northern Scotland from Thursday. It is likely Met Office warnings will be updated through the week.”

Stephen Dixon, a Met Office spokesman, said: “A disruptive period of weather is on the way.

“There’s some high totals (of rain) which have the potential to disrupt travel plans … (the) possibility of power cuts as well as the obvious risk of flooding.

“As you look at Wednesday, the first pulse of rain is looking to particularly influence Northern Ireland, Wales and the southwest of England, and into Thursday.

“But it’s as you move from Thursday and into the week that shift very much focuses more towards central and eastern Scotland, but also some central and eastern areas of England as well.”

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