Warning for Christmas travellers as Storm Barbara set to batter North East with rain and wind

Britain faces being hit with torrential rain and gale-force winds over the Christmas period, the Met Office has warned.

Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 1:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:11 pm
The region is set to be hit by wind and rain as Storm Barbara arrives.

A number of weather warnings are in place for across the UK this week, with the "windiest and wettest weather" set to be in the north and west.

A Met Office spokesman said: "Travel disruptions will affect people travelling within the yellow and amber warning area as major disruption to bridges and travel networks is expected."

The unsettled weather is expected to hit travel networks including rail, road and air services.

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Chris Tubbs, deputy chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "Storm Barbara is forecast to form in the west Atlantic on Wednesday and will pass close to the north-west of the UK during Friday, bringing very strong winds and heavy rain.

"This brings the potential for some structural damage, disruption to power supplies and travel, with restrictions on bridges and disruption to ferries likely."

The Met Office has warned that winds could reach speeds of 70mph in the North East, with yellow "be aware" warnings in place across the region for Friday and early on Christmas Eve.

Heavy rain and blustery weather is also expected in the southern and eastern parts of the UK over Friday - but conditions are set to improve on Saturday and Sunday.

The Christmas Day storm is forecast to be the biggest to hit the UK for more than a year, as it threatens to top winds from Storm Angus in November.

The Met Office also said it could not rule out a white Christmas - but added that it was unlikely.