The UK is set to be battered by Storm Isha, unleashing a barrage of very strong winds from Sunday evening into Monday. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for the period between 6 pm on Sunday, January 21, 2024, and 9 am on Monday, January 22, 2024, predicting significant disruptions to travel and utilities.
The storm is expected to bring about power cuts, potentially affecting essential services like mobile phone coverage. Buildings may suffer damage, including tiles being blown off roofs. Commuters can brace for longer journey times and cancellations, as road, rail, air, and ferry services are likely to be impacted. Certain roads and bridges may also face closures. Furthermore, there is a heightened risk of injuries and threats to life due to large waves and debris being hurled onto coastal roads, sea fronts, and properties.
The brunt of the very strong southwesterly winds is forecasted to hit Northern Ireland, western regions of England, Wales, and the southern half of Scotland during Sunday evening. Gusts are anticipated to reach 50-60 mph, possibly peaking at 70 mph in specific areas, and reaching 80 mph along exposed coastal stretches. Winds are expected to shift westerly in the early hours of Monday, affecting a broader area of southern Scotland and northern England before gradually subsiding through the morning.
Driving under such conditions poses significant risks. Those who must travel are advised to do so cautiously, driving slowly to minimize the impact of wind gusts. Special attention should be given to high-sided vehicles and caravans on exposed roads, with overtaking done with extra caution. Additional space should be provided to cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries, and buses.
It is strongly recommended to stay indoors as much as possible during high winds. If venturing outside, individuals should avoid walking or seeking shelter close to buildings and trees. In preparation for the storm, securing loose items outside homes, such as bins, garden furniture, trampolines, tents, sheds, and fences, is advised.
For those residing along the coast, vigilance is crucial in stormy weather. Large waves can pose serious dangers, even from the shore. Walking near cliffs requires caution, keeping in mind the route and ensuring dogs are on a lead. In case of emergencies along the coast, dial 999 and request assistance from the Coastguard.
Preparedness for potential power cuts is essential. Gathering torches, batteries, a mobile phone power pack, and other necessary items can significantly improve one’s ability to cope with such situations. Staying informed about the local weather forecast and adhering to advice from emergency services and local authorities is strongly advised.