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Storm Alex brings heavy rain and high winds to parts of UK

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Parts of the UK are facing heavy rain and high winds, as Storm Alex brings in a stretch of bad weather.

Gale-force winds reached 61mph (98km/h) in southern England on Friday morning, as drivers were urged to be “cautious” and carry out safety checks.

Rain warnings are in place across much of Wales and England and parts of Scotland for this weekend.

The Met Office’s chief meteorologist said the forecast was a “miserable end to the working week”.

Storm Alex, which has been affecting France, has pushed strong winds and lashing rain into southern England.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said the highest wind speeds of 61mph hit Berry Head in Devon and the Isle of Wight on Friday morning.

A yellow weather warning for wind and rain is in place on Friday across much of southern England – stretching from Cornwall to the Kent coast – and parts of Wales.

Chief meteorologist at the Met Office Steve Ramsdale said: “As the strong winds and rain associated with Storm Alex clear away from Britain later on Friday, another low-pressure system moves towards the UK from the east bringing further very heavy rain and strong winds to many over the weekend.”

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In Swanage in Dorset, waves were seen crashing against the seafront

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Locals joined a clean-up effort after stones were brought in by the sea

Nine breakdowns per minute have been forecast on UK roads between Friday and Monday, with the most callouts expected on Saturday, according to Green Flag.

Mark Newberry, commercial director at the breakdown cover provider, said: “As a result of these weather conditions, we urge drivers to remain cautious and to carry out the relevant safety checks before leaving to make their journeys.”

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks recorded unplanned power outages in more than 20 areas including Portsmouth, Southampton and towns east of Reading, according to the customer interactive map.

However, the company said this was normal, rating the shortage as “low incidence”, adding the cuts were concentrated to small areas, with power lines generally “holding up very well”.

Western Power Distribution has also recorded incidents in the South West, affecting Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset.

National industry body for gas and electricity Energy Networks Association said the storm has not caused “significant disruption” but that it is monitoring the weather “very closely”.

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Members of the Coastguard were on hand as the waves knocked a bin over

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Gareth Fuller

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A car drives through a large puddle on the A20 in Folkestone, Kent

Risk of flooding

There is also the possibility of flooding this weekend across parts of the UK.

An amber weather warning for rain covers much of Wales and south-west England from 12:00 BST on Saturday to 06:00 on Sunday.

Yellow weather warnings are in place for most of central and southern England, and eastern coasts into Scotland from Saturday into Sunday.

A yellow weather warning means heavy rain is expected and could lead to disruption from flooding, while an amber warning means heavy rain is expected to bring some flooding and transport disruption.

Over the weekend, parts of Wales, south-west England and eastern Scotland could see more than 100mm of rain.

This could lead to the risk of flooding and landslides as well as very difficult driving conditions, the Met Office said – concerns that were echoed by the Environment Agency.

“We urge people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to drive though flood water – it is often deeper than it looks and just 30cm of flowing water is enough to float your car,” the Environment Agency said.

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