Storm Babet has led to a rare red weather warning from the Met Office (Picture: SWNS)
The UK is facing a pummelling from the latest storm of the season, as Storm Babet rolls into the UK – bringing some extreme rainfall with it.
The Met Office has taken the step of issuing a rare ‘red weather warning’ amid concerns that the storm could cause severe damage, possibly even posing a danger to life.
Laurencekirk, Montrose and Forfar are among the towns covered by the alert, which comes into effect at 6pm tomorrow and is due to last until 12pm on Friday – with the communities being warned of possible collapsing buildings, road closures, loss of power and extensive flooding.
It’s the first time a red warning has been issued for rain since Storm Dennis pounded the country in 2020.
But just what does a red weather warning mean?
What does a red warning mean?
A red weather warning is the highest possible alert which can be issued by the Met Office.
According to their website it means that ‘dangerous weather is expected and, if you haven’t already done so, you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the severe weather.
The Met Office adds: ‘It is very likely that there will be a risk to life, with substantial disruption to travel, energy supplies and possibly widespread damage to property and infrastructure.
‘You should avoid travelling, where possible, and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.’
The red warning covers parts of Scotland – with amber and yellow warnings also in place (Picture: metro.co.uk)
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Jason Kelly said of Storm Babet: ‘Confidence has increased in the chances of considerable impacts from rainfall in parts of the east of Scotland from Storm Babet, which has resulted in the escalation to the red warning.
‘100-150mm of rain is expected to fall quite widely within the warning period, with some locations likely to see 200-250mm, which is expected to cause considerable impacts with flooding likely.’
Other parts of the country are facing amber and yellow weather warnings in the wake of the storm.
What is an amber weather warning?
The Met Office describes an amber warning as ‘an increased likelihood of impacts from severe weather, which could potentially disrupt your plans.
‘This means there is the possibility of travel delays, road and rail closures, power cuts and the potential risk to life and property. You should think about changing your plans and taking action to protect yourself and your property.
‘You may want to consider the impact of the weather on your family and your community and whether there is anything you need to do ahead of the severe weather to minimise the impact.
What is a yellow weather warning?
Yellow weather warnings are issued when the weather is likely to have a more low-level effect.
Many are issued when it is likely that the weather will cause some low level impacts, including some disruption to travel in a few places,’ the Met Office says.
‘Many people may be able to continue with their daily routine, but there will be some that will be directly impacted and so it is important to assess if you could be affected.
As these are used for a range of weather scenarios, the advice is to ‘read the content of yellow warnings to determine which weather situation is being covered by the yellow warning’.
How often are red weather warnings issued?
While it’s the first red warning issued for rain for some time, there have been a number of red warnings given for other extreme weather events in recent years.
A red warning was issued for the South-east and east of England, and south Wales in February 2022 in the wake of Storm Eunice, which brought with it winds of up to 122mph, while 2021’s Storm Arwen also led to a red weather warning for wind – covering a large section of the east coast from Aberdeen to Newcastle.
However, the most recent red warning was for heat – and it marked the first time the Met Office had issued such an alert for high temperatures.
That one, issued in July 2022, covered most of central and Southern England, when the hottest part of the UK reached above 40°C for the first time ever.
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