Tourists and holidaymakers have been warned to beware the roads this weekend with 60mph gales and storms set to batter Britain.
Caravan users, motorcyclists and lorry drivers have been told by transport chiefs to only drive if absolutely necessary due to the risk the winds pose to their vehicles.
Meanwhile revellers across the UK have been left dismayed after events were cancelled due to the ‘unseasonable’ weather on the way – including a kite festival axed because winds will be too strong.
The three-day St Annes International Kite Festival was due to take place in Fylde, Lancashire, starting tomorrow but was scrapped due to Met Office weather warnings of gales of up to 60mph.
The Met Office even said the ‘unseasonable’ weather will ‘feel more like autumn than August’ – although most of the country will see sunny spells and warm temperatures of around 74F today.
Heavy rain earlier in the week is already causing flooding problems in Scotland, with one cyclist spotted struggling to make their way through standing water on a road near Edinburgh.
It comes as the odds have been cut on August being the wettest on record – following the hottest July ever recorded worldwide.
Caravan users, motorcyclists and lorry drivers have been told by transport chiefs to only drive if absolutely necessary due to the risk the winds pose to their vehicles
The St Annes International Kite Festival, pictured in previous years, was due to take place in Lancashire this weekend but has been cancelled because winds will be too strong
Gales of up to 60mph are set to batter Britain between Friday and Saturday leading to warnings being issued to caravan users and lorry drivers
Festival organisers said they were ‘absolutely devastated’ after highlighting that weather warnings had caused the event to be cancelled
The third annual Houghton Festival is another of this weekend’s victims of the weather after it was cancelled due to safety concerns brought on by heavy winds and rains
This Met Office graphic shows the progress of inclement weather that will hit the UK this weekend
The Met Office said heavy rain will set in on Friday, with flooding expected in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Saturday will then see 60mph winds strike throughout England and Wales, while widespread showers also affecting Scotland
Meanwhile flooding is already causing problems in Scotland with a cyclist and car spotted struggling to make their way through standing water covering a road near Edinburgh, pictured
Most of the country will see sunny spells today, with thunderstorms and a deluge of rain following over the weekend (pictured)
Yellow weather warnings for rain and wind will come in to force across large swathes of the UK on Friday and Saturday with heavy downpours set to start tonight and continue into Friday.
A yellow ‘be aware’ weather warning is in place across all of Wales and Northern Ireland, and most of England and Scotland, as some places could receive more than two inches of rain.
Met Office meteorologist Sarah Kent said: ‘The first band of rain could bring 30mm of rain in places, and if you draw the short straw, then you could get another 30mm with the showers that follow.
‘Some places might get as much as 60mm of rain.’
Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard, warned motorcylists, lorry and caravan drivers to be extra careful on the nations highways over the weekend.
He said: ‘We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve. If you do intend to travel, then plan your journey and take extra care, allowing more time.
‘In high winds, there’s a particular risk to lorries, caravans and motorbikes so we’d advise drivers of these vehicles to slow down and avoid using exposed sections of road if possible.’
With many people expected to head to the coast, Ross Macleod, RNLI Respect the Water campaign manager, added: ‘If you’re heading to the coast, beware of large waves and stay away from the edge – even from shore, large breaking waves can sweep you off your feet and drag you out to sea. Check your surroundings – storms can change the landscape of some beaches, changing or damaging access points.
‘If you find yourself in difficulty in the water, remember to relax and float on your back – this will give you a chance to regain control of your breathing.
‘If you see someone else in danger, never enter the water yourself as you could end up in trouble too. Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. If there is something buoyant nearby, throw that to the person to keep them afloat until professional help arrives.’
Fylde Council made the decision to stop the kite festival after judging the safety risks is as ‘too great’.
Thousands of enthusiasts planning on attending the St Annes International Kite Festival have been left disappointed by the news.
Much of Britain enjoyed a beautiful start to the day today – but as the saying goes, red sky in the morning comes with a warning, with weather warnings put in place across the country on Friday and Saturday for heavy rain and storms. Pictured is the sunrise in Ashley Heath, Dorset, this morning
A mix of cloud and sunshine made for a beautiful scene above lavender fields in Ashley Heath, Dorset, today, pictured, although 60mph winds and as much 60mm of rain could change that over the coming days
Many have expressed disbelief that an event which relies on wind has been cancelled for that very reason.
Posting on Facebook, Chris Hembury sarcastically said: ‘Last thing you want is a windy day if you’re flying kites…’, while Craig Michael Birtwistle added: ‘Too windy for kites?’
Disgruntled Karim Haj saidi: ‘The weather men never get it right, even with all the technology and satellites they have.’
A Fylde Council spokesman said: ‘We are very sorry to announce that due to severe weather warnings that have been issue by the Met Office for this weekend, we have to cancel the St Annes Kite Festival.
‘This decision has not been made lightly, and following discussions with the organisers and kite fliers, the health and safety risk is simply too great to go ahead. We sincerely apologise and hope that you will join us for future kite festivals.’
A planned air show is still scheduled to go ahead.
Vehicles were partially submerged on the road near Edinburgh, pictured, near the city’s airport
This scene near Edinburgh was just one of the flooding problems affecting the city, with disruption also caused to the famous Fringe Festival
Travel chaos continues across the UK too following a computer glitch that grounded scores of British Airways flights yesterday.
Some passengers were delayed for up to 17 hours after a night sleeping on terminal floors, benches and in coffee shops.
Today lines of people are forming again at Heathrow and Gatwick as the beleaguered airline warned of a ‘knock-on’ disruption despite fixing their IT meltdown yesterday afternoon.
In Edinburgh a video of the struggling cyclist was taken at a roundabout near the city’s airport, just off Eastfield Road, and showed the flood water leaving vehicles on the road partially submerged.
Just after 8pm, the airport’s Twitter account advised people to check their travel options, adding that Lothian Buses could only stop on Glasgow Road because of the conditions. The road reopened around half an hour later.
Trains in and out of the city were also hit by flooding in Linlithgow which caused the line to close.
Services between the Scottish capital and Glasgow Queen Street High Level and Dunblane were affected – with some passengers being taken back to Edinburgh.
The disruption comes amid a busy Edinburgh Festival Fringe season and with thousands of music fans heading to Princes Street Gardens to see Florence + The Machine.
Edinburgh Summer Sessions organisers earlier on Wednesday tweeted to inform revellers of a delay in opening the gates to the venue because of the conditions.
Bookmaker Coral said it has cut the odds of this being the wettest August ever to an odds-on 4-5, down from 6-4.
A yellow weather warning for wind across all of Wales and central and southern England follows on Saturday.
Although Scotland and northern England escapes the wind warning, a yellow guidance is in place for thunderstorms.
Ms Kent said ‘it will be unseasonably windy’, with gusts in the warning area reaching 40 or 50mph.
The UK has already endured a wet start to August with motorists in Sheerness, Kent (pictured) struggling through rainy conditions yesterday
The weather caused Cornish music festival Boardmasters to be cancelled over fears of high winds. Workers were pictured at the site yesterday moving fencing away from the VIP, media and guest list tents as production was shut down
Festival goers wait at the Newquay Train Station in Cornwall as they try to get home after the 2019 Boardmasters festival near Newquay, Cornwall, was cancelled due to a severe weather forecast
In more exposed areas, the winds could be even higher.
Ms Kent added: ‘The English Channel coast could see winds in excess of 60mph.
‘Saturday is going to be a very unseasonal day, it could feel more like autumn than August.’
Due to the forecast, people travelling over the weekend are being warned to expect delays and disruption to their journeys.
Organisers of the Houghton Festival, which takes place in Norfolk and offers a range of musical acts, revealed they were axing what would have been their third annual event this morning.
A spokesperson wrote on Facebook: ‘Tragically, following this morning’s reports and further consultation with authorities, health and safety and all the festival directors, the decision has been made to cancel Houghton 2019.
‘We are utterly devastated. All the hard work, love and creativity that has gone into planning and producing this year’s event made this an almost impossible decision to make.
‘This was set to be a wonderful weekend and the boldest step we have ever taken as a festival. However, nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, staff and performers, which would be compromised if we were to go ahead.’
Boardmasters music festival in Newquay, Cornwall, was cancelled at the 11th hour in anticipation of the bad weather, affecting 50,000 revellers, some who had already set off on long journeys to the site.
While performances at the event, which included slots from stars such as Wu-Tang Clan, Florence + The Machine and Foals, were not due to begin until Friday, doors were set to open to visitors on Wednesday.
In a statement posted on Twitter at 11pm on Tuesday, the festival said ‘we sincerely regret the disappointment to fans, and apologise for any disruption caused to local businesses’.
It added: ‘The safety of you, the fans and attendees, as well as performers and crew comes first.’