STORM Gareth has DOUBLED into a colossal 2000-mile wide mega-storm bringing snow and 90mph blizzards today.
The latest weather forecast says Britain will be battered by brutal downpours as hurricane-force winds and 50ft waves crash along the coast.
The Met Office issued “severe” yellow weather warnings for rain and wind for nearly all of UK — and snow forecast in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Brian Gaze, forecaster and director of The Weather Outlook told, The Sun Online: “Heavy showers affect Wales and north western parts of Britain.
“Over the hills they will turn to snow of 15cm to 20cm are possible over higher parts of the Scottish mountains.
“The Welsh mountains and hills in northern England could also have a few centimetres on the ground.
“The other feature of the weather will be strong winds.”
In addition to the most powerful gales hitting the north west coast, gusts of up to 60mph are possible throughout much of the UK.
He added: “The combination of strong winds and heavy snow showers could lead to blizzard conditions over high ground in the north.”
Two climbers died and two were injured yesterday after being caught in an avalanche on Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, following heavy snowfall hit Scotland.
The second day of the Cheltenham Festival is also under threat with the racecourse due to carry out a morning inspection this morning.
It is feared that howling winds could put temporary structures in danger of being blown over.
It is expected that a fortnight’s worth of rain will fall in less than a day in some parts of the north west.
We expect structural damage to buildings, trees blown down, large waves on coasts and possible power cuts
Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond
Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond said an “explosive” cyclone “is seeing the Atlantic storm deepen rapidly.”
She added: “We expect structural damage to buildings, trees blown down, large waves on coasts and possible power cuts. People should be aware of warnings.
“Gusts of 70-80mph and possibly 90mph over higher ground are forecast — highest in western Scotland.”
John Hammond, chief meteorologist for Weathertrending told The Sun Online: “Cold air is sweeping in from the northwest and will be with us through Wednesday.”
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Over in Wales the River Conwy burst its banks at Llanrwst causing nearby roads to flood.
The eastbound carriageway of the M48 Severn Crossing was closed for a while due to the weather but has since reopened.
There was also congestion on the M5 northbound in Gloucestershire at J11A when two lanes were closed due to flooding.
A slip road on the M6 in Cumbria was also closed due to flash flooding caused by the heavy rain.
Train services were disrupted in the south-west with CrossCountry Trains forced to reduce its service due to the high winds.
Southwestern and Virgin Trains had to operate at reduced speeds on their lines.
In the West Country the storm has already caused power blackouts and fallen trees blocking roads.
The main trainline through Dawlish, Devon, has been closed.
TRAIN AND PLANE DELAYS
Highways England said officers were dealing with severe flooding on the northbound entry slip road to Charnock Richard services off the M6 in Lancashire.
A lane was closed on the M6 southbound near junction 33, at Hampson Green in Lancashire, because of a flood.
The Environment Agency said staff had been working through the night in Cumbria and Lancashire to monitor rain and river levels.
It said on Twitter: “We’ve been out throughout the night clearing grids & removing debris in #Cumbria & #Lancs to reduce flood risk during #stormgareth.
“Rain is falling on already wet catchments, therefore it’s important that people do remain vigilant, be prepared & know your risk.”
After the rain clears, the storm is expected to bring strong winds, with a chance of damage to buildings, power cuts and travel problems.
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A yellow weather warning for rain is also in place in parts of northern England on Thursday.
The storm, caused by a deep area of low pressure, was named by Met Eireann, the Irish weather service.
It is the third named storm this year after Storm Erik in February and Freya earlier this month.
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