Britain braced for Storm Barbara on busiest day of the year for travel

Severe weather warnings are in place across much of the UK as winds of up to 90mph are expected in some parts of the country

Storm Barbara Rain
Shoppers caught in a downpour during Storm Barbara in December 2016

Britain is braced for the arrival of Storm Barbara which is expected to bring winds of up to 90mph to some parts of the country.

The AA has predicted that around 12 million cars will be on the roads due to a combination of people visiting loved ones, shopping trips and holidaymakers, as well as those travelling to and from work, reports the Daily Telegraph.

But forecasters have warned that wintry showers, strong winds of 90mph and lightning could lead to disruption to power supplies and travel across some parts of the country.

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The Met Office suggests the wind could disrupt power lines, force the cancellation of ferries and lead to restrictions on some bridges.

Two separate yellow "be aware" wind warnings are in place, one covering northern parts of the UK where gusts of 60 to 70mph are expected quite widely, and one for more southern areas, where a narrow and intense band of heavy rain and gusty winds could lead to some disruption.

The highest wind speeds are forecast for the Western Isles, Skye, the north west coast and Northern Isles, with gusts expected of 80-90 mph, says the BBC.

Highland Council has closed more than 70 schools and nurseries.

Brent Walker, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said: "Storm Barbara is crossing the Atlantic and will pass close to the north-west of the UK during Friday, bringing the potential for some disruption to power supplies and travel, and possibly structural damage."

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The Times paints a decidedly bleak picture of "strikes, storms and shutdowns" in anticipation of "the most chaotic Christmas getaway in decades".

Road users can expect delays of up to two and a half hours on Friday and Christmas Eve, with these traditionally busy days exacerbated by more than 200 rail engineering projects scheduled over Christmas, including on lines around London, Wales and Manchester.

Traffic analysis service Inrix has pinpointed the M25 between junctions 16 and 7 as the worst stretch for road for lengthy tailbacks.

In addition to all this, "all journeys are likely to be affected by Storm Barbara, which will bring heavy rain and gales of up to 90mph to parts of the UK from Friday", the Times adds.

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