Storm Hector brought down trees and sparked travel disruption today as Britain faced winds of up to 70mph.
The country’s first named storm since January brought heavy rain and strong gusts as it crossed the north of the UK, with Met Office forecasters warning of injuries and danger to life being ‘likely’ in parts of Northern Ireland.
An amber ‘be prepared’ warning was issued for strong winds in that area, while a yellow ‘be aware’ warning was imposed for Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, North East England and Scotland from 3am to 3pm today.
Police officers in Glasgow deal with a fallen tree on the road this morning as Storm Hector sweeps across Scotland
A tree has fallen onto the tracks at Kirkwood railway station in Scotland this morning, blocking the train line east of Glasgow
A sheep shelters from the heavy rain today during Storm Hector at Alison O’Neill’s farm in Gardale near Sedberg, Cumbria
A huge tree has also fallen at Ash Tree Field on the Solway Coast in northern Cumbria during Storm Hector this morning
A tree has fallen over next to All Souls Presbyterian Church in Belfast as Northern Ireland is hit by high winds today
Trees were blown over on the banks of the Clyde in Scotland today, on which one Twitter user joked was a ‘refreshing day’
Fallen trees have blocked a section of Scotland’s busiest motorway the M8 at Erskine Bridge, while the A9 Dornoch Bridge was shut to high sided vehicles and pedestrians were stopped from using the Forth Road Bridge.
Police told people to secure any loose garden furniture to stop it being blown into roads, while ScotRail reported problems with overhead lines, including at Partick and Dalreoch – while winds hit Edinburgh to Milngavie services.
A speed restriction due to high winds delayed trains on the West Coast Main Line between Preston and Lockerbie, while a tree was blocking the line between Westbury in Wiltshire and Reading in Berkshire.
In Scotland and northern England, officials warned of ‘a small chance of injuries and danger to life’ from flying debris, and large waves in coastal areas. There could also be disruption to transport and power cuts.
Further South in England and Wales it is still likely to be windy, but the rain is due to clear early on, to be followed by sunny intervals.
It is likely to be sunny for the Duchess of Sussex’s first engagement with the Queen in Chester today, with temperatures of 64F (18C) – although winds could still reach 25mph, with gusts of 35 mph.
Storm Hector brought down trees and sparked travel disruption today as parts of Britain faced 70mph winds
Temperatures are expected to make it to 21C (70F) in the South this afternoon (left), and 14C (57F) tomorrow morning (right)
The pollen count remains very high for central England and Wales today, and high for most other parts of England
Met Office spokesman Nicola Maxey said the worst of the windy weather is likely from mid-morning today, with the worst gusts in exposed places. She added: ‘A deep area of low pressure is unusual in June but not unprecedented.
Why things are about to get worse for hayfever sufferers in Britain
Pollen counts reached their highest levels of the year so far this week, with hayfever sufferers across the UK left sneezing and rubbing their eyes.
But things could get even worse for those Britons who have the condition as grass pollen – which affects 95 per cent of sufferers – reaches its peak.
Up to 20million people are expected to be affected this summer by the more than 150 species of grass in the UK.
Pollen levels will be very high in central England today, high in other parts of England and moderate to low in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Up to 30 per cent of adults and around 40 per cent of children suffer from hay fever, according to Allergy UK.
Those who suffer with the condition are advised to avoid alcohol, wear sunglasses outside, close windows, change clothing regularly and shower to remove pollen from hair and skin.
‘We have an area of high pressure dominating the country’s weather for a long time, bringing settled conditions. But that has moved out of the way, allowing Atlantic low pressure systems to come in from the West.’
The low pressure is due to bring in cooler and fresher air, meaning temperatures falling towards the low-60s Fahrentheit (high teens Celsius) – around average for mid-June.
Tomorrow is set to be mostly dry and bright in central and southern England, but there could be showers in the North West.
Meanwhile, heavy and potentially thundery showers could be more extensive on Saturday, in western areas, before a return to drier conditions on Sunday.
The last named storm was Georgina, on January 24, which brought winds gusting up to 85mph in Scotland. The Beast from the East, which brought freezing weather from late February, was not classed as a named storm.
Into next week, the Met Office predicts warm, fine and dry weather in the Midlands and south on Monday, but cloudy conditions with patchy rain further north and west.
But changeable conditions are set to continue, with wind and rain at times later in the week. More settled weather, with dry and warm spells, is predicted later in the month.
The weather warnings follow Britain enjoying its warmest and sunniest May on record. Provisional figures from the Met Office showed 245.3 hours of sunshine last month, the highest figure since current records began in 1929.
The average daytime maximum temperature was 62.6F (17C), just beating 62.4F (16.9C) set in May 1992, the highest figure since temperature records began in 1910.
Storm Hector is the eighth named storm of 2017/18 by the Met Office and Met Eireann, following Aileen last September, Brian last October, Caroline and Dylan last December, and Eleanor, Fionn and Georgina in January.