Storm Dylan has lashed parts of Ireland and Wales with howling gales in excess of 70mph and squally rain as it bears down on the UK mainland, casting gloom on the New Year’s Eve plans of millions.
Forecasters have warned of severe gusts of up to 80mph as the storm brings a wet and windy end to 2017.
Met Eireann said the strongest winds were recorded at Mace Head in Co Galway, where 74mph speeds were clocked, while the Met Office said gusts of 70mph had been detected at Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsular.
The highest wind speeds recorded in Northern Ireland were gusts of 59mph in Killowen, Co Down.
The UK weather service has issued an amber warning covering Northern Ireland and parts of western Scotland, stating there is the potential for “injuries or danger to life” from flying debris, while a yellow warning extends into northern England and across to the Lothians.
Irish forecasters have issued an amber warning of “violent gusts” and coastal flooding from high seas, along with a yellow warning for inland areas.
Wind speeds were expected to increase throughout Sunday morning as Storm Dylan crossed the Irish Sea, its centre on a collision course with Scotland.
It could prove troublesome for the 150,000 people expected to attend the traditional New Year’s celebrations in Edinburgh later.
Organisers of the Hogmanay have said the event will go ahead as planned despite gusts of up to 80mph predicted for the first half of the day.
In London, where more than 100,000 ticket-holders are expected to watch the New Year’s Eve firework display on the banks of the River Thames, a dry evening is forecast.
‘Alert not alarmed’
Spectators flocking to the sold-out event have been urged to “be alert, not alarmed” and report any concerns to police.
Scotland Yard has confirmed that fewer Metropolitan Police officers will be working during the celebrations, despite the capital being hit by four terror attacks in 2017, but insisted resources would be “appropriate”.
Superintendent Nick Aldworth said on Friday: “We are providing a proportionate number of officers based on the threat, number of people coming, and the secure environment we’ve been able to build.
“We have fewer officers policing here this year but they represent the appropriate number of resources that we need.”
Party-goers travelling to and from London Waterloo, the busiest train station in the country, have also been warned to prepare for rail disruption due to strike action