Storm Arwen batters Britain: Temperature plunges to -4.4C as 75mph gale force winds hit

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Temperatures today plunged to -4.4C as 75mph gale force winds battered Britain during the opening day of Storm Arwen. 

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning – meaning lives are in danger – for northeast Scotland and England as well as yellow weather warnings for Friday and Saturday. Forecasters warn snow is possible, ‘almost anywhere away from the far-south’. 

The amber warning will run from 3pm on Friday to 9am on Saturday, with the strongest winds expected in coastal locations, where gusts in excess of 75mph are possible. The weather is likely to cause travel chaos across the country, closing bridges and roads and causing structural damage to buildings.

Temperatures in the UK at this time of year usually average a daily high of 10C and a low of 4C, but are set to plummet, with lows up -4C in Scotland on Saturday night.

Intense winds of 50-60mph around the rest of the country could cause power cuts on Saturday – with ferries, trains and road journeys likely to be severely delayed. A yellow snow warning is also in force for part of Scotland on Friday. 

Stephen Dixon, a Met Office spokesman, said Storm Arwen is moving in from the North Sea and will begin to travel south before easing on Sunday. 

Experts have now expressed fears that migrants attempting to cross the Channel face ‘terrifying’ conditions that no commercial fishermen would risk – after 27 people lost their lives overnight, and a further 50 attempted the treacherous crossing again tomorrow. 

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning – meaning lives are in danger – for northeast Scotland and England as well as yellow weather warnings for Friday and Saturday. Forecasters warn snow is possible, ‘almost anywhere away from the far-south’. Pictured, waves at Roker Lighthouse in Sunderland today

Temperatures in the UK at this time of year usually average a daily high of 10C and a low of 4C, but are set to plummet, with lows up -4C in Scotland on Saturday night. Pictured, Met Office weather maps

Temperatures in the UK at this time of year usually average a daily high of 10C and a low of 4C, but are set to plummet, with lows up -4C in Scotland on Saturday night. Pictured, Met Office weather maps

He said: ‘There may also be some snow in the lower ground region of northern England, though this is likely to be short-lived and fall in the form of sleet or wintry rain.

Migrants planning to cross the Channel in small boats this weekend face ‘terrifying’ conditions

Migrants planning to cross the Channel in small boats this weekend face ‘terrifying’ conditions that no commercial fishermen would risk, according to local specialists.

The dinghies used by the people traffickers would be tossed around by 5m swells with freezing temperatures and cold sea spray putting the men, women and children at risk of hypothermia.

It comes after an ‘overloaded’ boat capsized in rough seas amid rain and cold weather and was found by fishermen, with three coastguard vessels and a helicopter rushed to the scene. 

Craig Collins, of Channel Angling in Dover, Kent, told the PA news agency: ‘It’s brutal out there, at the moment we’re getting north-westerlies which will just smash the boats.

‘They are coming straight into them, it would be difficult to even get off the beaches and they’ll be facing 16-foot swells, it’s horrendous out there.

‘It would be really hard out there. I wouldn’t want to be out there and no commercial fisherman would go out in that. It’s tragic they are trying to do it.

‘It’s not just the cold, it’s the spray from the water, they will be hypothermic in 20 minutes out there.’

Another fisherman, Manny, said: ‘It’s terrifying, you would think you are going to die. I used to be a commercial fisherman in a 32ft boat and we wouldn’t go out in the conditions that they do and these people haven’t got anything, they’re just in small dinghies.’ 

‘It comes on the back of a fall in temperature, with parts of rural Scotland and England to drop below freezing during the night.’

Within the amber area and near the coasts large waves could see material thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and buildings, the Met Office has warned.  

The RAC has advised drivers to prepare for strong gusts by slowing down and being ‘very careful’ when passing high-sided vehicles or cyclists.

Spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘In extreme windy conditions, bridges may also be closed and trees may fall so it’s important to allow extra time for journeys.

‘With forecasters predicting strong winds together with colder conditions, drivers should take this opportunity to prepare their vehicles for winter by checking oil and coolant levels, ensuring they have enough good quality screen wash that protects down to well below minus 10C, as well as having properly inflated tyres with good tread.’

The Met Office names storms on the back of their potential impact, with Storm Arwen declared as the result of the amber wind warning.

Met Office Principal Meteorologist Dan Suri said: ‘Storm Arwen is associated with a deep low pressure system that will impact the northeast in particular from Friday, but will also bring wider impacts to the UK with high winds, rain and some snow probable over the high ground.

‘Storm Arwen’s impacts are mainly associated with high winds as the storm sinks southwards and will widely bring gusts of up to 65mph in coastal areas, although slightly stronger in the northeast, with in excess of 75mph possible in exposed locations.’ 

A Met Office spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We could see blizzard conditions on the highlands. Snow will start from today and showers could fall as snow today through to Thursday. On Friday there will be a lot of rain in northeast Scotland and over the highlands that could fall as snow. 

‘As the temperature drops off through Friday night there’s a chance we could see snow falling over higher ground in Wales, the Pennines and a dash across East Anglia.’

He added: ‘Showers could fall as snow over higher ground in Scotland. It’ll be windy in north and western Scotland. That cold front sticks through the day and brings cold to rest of UK with widespread frost behind the cold front.’ 

The Met Office names storms on the back of their potential impact, with Storm Arwen declared as the result of the amber wind warning

The Met Office names storms on the back of their potential impact, with Storm Arwen declared as the result of the amber wind warning

A farmer drives along a snow-covered track in the Scottish highlands after snow fell overnight Wednesday

A farmer drives along a snow-covered track in the Scottish highlands after snow fell overnight Wednesday

Snow is pictured on the ground on the A939 in the Scottish Highlands on Thursday morning

Snow is pictured on the ground on the A939 in the Scottish Highlands on Thursday morning

A light layer of snow settled on the ground in the Scottish highlands this morning after it fell overnight

A light layer of snow settled on the ground in the Scottish highlands this morning after it fell overnight

Traffic on the A939 today after snow fell on the higher routes in Scotland with more snow forecast for later this week

Traffic on the A939 today after snow fell on the higher routes in Scotland with more snow forecast for later this week

Temperatures could plummet to as low as -4C in the Scottish Highlands overnight on Saturday into Sunday

Temperatures could plummet to as low as -4C in the Scottish Highlands overnight on Saturday into Sunday

Temperatures will plummet this weekend with the 'feels like temperature' set to 0C and -2C in Scotland

The Met Office has warned the extreme wind could close bridges and roads as well as see tiles blown off buildings over the weekend. Pictured, a map of the wind direction

The Met Office has warned the extreme wind could close bridges and roads as well as see tiles blown off buildings over the weekend. Pictured, a map of the wind direction

Average temperatures for this time of year – and how they’ve changed over the years

1970: 7.0C

1980: 5.9C

1990: 6.6C

2000: 6.7C

2010: 4.9C

2020: 8.1C

Source: Sheffield Weather 

Meanwhile, Labrokes is predicting next month will be the coldest December on record with 2/1 bets. 

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: ‘A White Christmas will come at a freezing cold cost if the latest odds are anything to go by, with next month looking increasingly likely to break records on the weather front for all the wrong reasons.’ 

The strong winds are set to affect the majority of the UK, with only a small part of south-east England avoiding a yellow weather warning.

He added: ‘The cold front is just lingering over the south at this point. There will be showers in northern Scotland and a chance of snow across high ground but it probably will not be settling. 

‘It is mostly dry elsewhere. In the evening the rain moves into the northwest. There could be some snow on the edge of that in the cold air but it’ll quickly turn to rain as it moves to Scotland and warmer air comes across.’

He said there will be a change on Friday, and weather warnings were put out at 9.51am Tuesday for ‘strong winds’. ‘A low pressure area brings strong winds and heavy rains to northern parts of the UK and spreads to a wider area of the UK through Saturday.’

‘Along with the wind we’ve got heavier rain in north England and south Scotland. Later on Friday that could start to fall as snow over the highlands, which is not unusual for the end of November. 

‘Later in the evening wet and windy weather spreads south. There might be the odd snow flurry in the south but it’s unlikely to settle. It’s wet and increasingly windy across large parts of the UK. Peak gust speed is 80mph and it is windy after a mild November. There are still leaves on trees so it could cause disruption’.  

A Met office forecaster said Friday would be ‘cold and unsettled with showers and occasional longer spells of rain’ as well as ‘often windy, with potential for severe gales in the west on Friday and Saturday.’ 

Friday

Saturday

Amber and yellow wind and snow warnings have been released for Scotland, western England and Northern Ireland on Friday, before extending to almost the entire of the UK on Saturday

Snow fell in Scotland on Wednesday before moving south to the north of England, East Anglia and Wales later in the week. Pictured, Dunsden, Oxfordshire on Thursday

Snow fell in Scotland on Wednesday before moving south to the north of England, East Anglia and Wales later in the week. Pictured, Dunsden, Oxfordshire on Thursday

Intense winds of up to 50-60mph around the country could cause travel chaos and power cuts on Saturday - with ferries, trains and road journeys likely to be severely delayed. Pictured, arctic air is bringing snow this week

Intense winds of up to 50-60mph around the country could cause travel chaos and power cuts on Saturday – with ferries, trains and road journeys likely to be severely delayed. Pictured, arctic air is bringing snow this week

The BBC’s monthly forecast for November says ‘a surge of colder Icelandic air will spill across the UK over the final 10 days of November’ and this could linger into the beginning of December. 

‘A secondary push of colder Icelandic air’ is expected late next week, which will further drop temperatures’ the forecast states, adding that ‘sharp frosts may occur during some evenings late in the week’.

As temperatures drop, ‘a few spells of rain showers and even some patchy snow showers’ may hit the UK, mainly in Scotland, with winds also experiencing an uptick as the week progresses.  

November has seen warmer than normal temperatures so far, particularly in parts of eastern Scotland, which are expected to continue until the end of the weekend. 

The calm conditions have been cited as one of the reasons why so many migrants are successfully crossing the English Channel from northern France.  

How could they let them cross the Channel in THIS? Disturbing picture of ‘very frail’ dinghy that capsized killing 27 migrants including pregnant woman and young girl – as French police patrols do nothing to stop FIFTY more crossing TODAY 

This is the first picture of the doomed dinghy that deflated just off Calais Wednesday killing 27 people on board as French police again failed to stop 50 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain yesterday.

The ‘flimsy’ and ‘very frail’ grey inflatable boat was photographed by a lifeboat captain who arrived to find bodies floating in the water off Calais in the worst migrant tragedy in Anglo-French history.

Two survivors – an Iraqi and a Somalian – have told police their poorly made dinghy was hit by a container ship, puncturing its thin rubber hull and taking dozens of lives.

Five people have been arrested in France over the 27 deaths, including one man held overnight driving a German-registered vehicle packed with inflatable rhibs, although there is ‘no provable link’ with the sinking, according to prosecutors, despite French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin insisting all were ‘directly linked’ to the drownings.

And as Emmanuel Macron was urged to get a grip, French police again failed to stop a group of around asylum seekers crossing the Channel on two boats in choppy conditions this morning. They were brought shivering into a freezing Dover by the RNLI at dawn.

This is the first picture of the flimsy and dangerous dinghy that sank off Calais Wednesday, killing 27 people including five women, some of them pregnant, and three children

This is the first picture of the flimsy and dangerous dinghy that sank off Calais Wednesday, killing 27 people including five women, some of them pregnant, and three children

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by the RNLI, following a small boat incident in the Channel after 27 people died

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by the RNLI, following a small boat incident in the Channel after 27 people died

Small groups of officers were seen patrolling beaches close to Calais Thursday morning but again failed to prevent dozens setting off for the UK in dinghies amid claims in Britain that the French have been sitting on their hands as 17 men, seven women and three children died.

Boris Johnson, Mr Macron and their ministers are expected to hold more talks as the Prime Minister insisted that British boots are needed on the ground in France to stop evil slave gangs ‘getting away with murder’. 

As relations between the UK and France become increasingly fraught, Macron’s minister in charge of the crisis, Gerald Darmanin, blamed Britain for the crisis and claimed migrants are promised ‘Eldorado in England’ by people traffickers because of its suite of benefits and ‘attractive’ labour market.

Mr Macron is said to have ignored the renewed offer for help with patrols during his call with the PM, and insists he won’t let the Channel to ‘be turned into a cemetery’, again accused by critics of allowing a bitterness over Brexit for his failure to tackle migrant traffickers.

Speaking on a trip to Croatia, Macron hit back at critics claiming France is not doing enough. He said police have been ‘working day and night’ since the start of the crisis to stop boats – and have ‘never had more’ officers patrolling the coast. He said ‘our mobilisation is total as far as I’m concerned’. 

French interior minister Mr Darmanin is expected to speak to his counterpart, Home Secretary Priti Patel. 

He said: ‘It is Britain’s attractiveness which is to blame, including its labour market. Everybody knows that there are up to 1.2 million clandestine migrants in the UK and English business leaders use that workforce to produce things that are consumed by the English’. 

He told French radio network RTL that the smugglers are ‘criminals, people who exploit the misery of others, of women and children – there were pregnant women, children who died yesterday on that boat… and for a few thousand euros they promise them ‘Eldorado in England’.   

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