Helene prompts yellow warnings for wind in UK ahead of possible windstorms

By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
September 16, 2018, 11:21:39 PM EDT

An active storm track will set up across parts of the United Kingdom in the upcoming week, bringing more frequent bouts of rain and strong winds and a former hurricane.

Helene, which formed off the coast of Africa during the first week of September, strengthened to a hurricane on 9 September.

However, it has since weakened to a non-tropical low after moving out of the warm waters of the tropics.

After drenching the Azores, Helene has lost its tropical characteristics after moving out of the warm waters of the Tropical Atlantic.

However, Helene will remain an impactful storm. As such, the UK Met Office on Friday issued yellow warnings for wind across much of the region from Monday afternoon until Tuesday.

Helene 9.17 AM

Regions affected by the yellow warnings include North East and North West England, Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, Lothian Borders, South West England, Strathclyde, Wales and Yorkshire and Humber.

Wind gusts of 50-75 mph could be possible for the United Kingdom, especially parts of Wales, northern England and southwest Scotland.

The highest wind speeds will likely be on the southward facing coast and the highest elevations. Power cuts due to downed tree branches are possible. The highest wind is expected to occur from late on Monday into Monday night.

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Currently, the areas highest at risk for heavy rainfall would be Northern Ireland and Scotland. The heaviest rainy spells could bring up to 55 mm (2 inches) of rainfall. Residents in these areas should be on alert for localized flash flooding.

These conditions could cause travel disruptions throughout the British Isles. Flight delays could cascade and affect other places across Europe as well.

windstorm 9/16

Fluctuations in the jet stream will continue to influence the weather pattern allowing storms enough time to strengthen before moving into Europe.

“Confidence remains low for how many windstorms could impact the British Isles,” said Roys.

A windstorm is defined as a low pressure system that is accompanied by severe weather, including flooding rain or gale-force winds, according to the UK Met Office.

The potential exists for several lows to pass across the North Atlantic Ocean this week and turn strong enough to be called a windstorm.

However, it is highly unlikely that all of them will become windstorms.

In the wake of Helene, a second storm is expected to cross the Isles on Wednesday, potentially followed by a third late in the week.

Any saturation or weakening of structures and trees caused by Helene could compounded with these subsequent lows, leading to more damage than usual.

The 2018-2019 windstorm name list was just released on Tuesday, informing the public that the first named windstorm would become Ali.

Download the free AccuWeather App to keep track of Helene and the latest tropical systems across the globe.

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