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Huge 100ft waves batter the coast… but summer is back (briefly)!

Hundreds of Britons have been soaking up the 73F sun on the UK’s beaches while strong winds from the tail-end of Storm Ellen continue to stir up giant tides along the coast.

Gales which battered parts of the nation have slightly eased following disruption to coastal areas and warnings from emergency services but are still triggering waves of up to 100ft.

Gusts of up to 70mph buffeted parts of the south-west of England and Wales on Friday, causing the RNLI and HM Coastguard to urge members of the public to be cautious in coastal areas.

But the bluster didn’t deter many from enjoying the sun in parts of the UK.

Families headed out on the water in London’s Little Venice as the capital enjoyed lulls in the high winds with sunny spells.

Meanwhile Holidaymakers and families hit the busy beach at the seaside resort of Lyme Regis to enjoy the brief return of summer on a blustery day with hot sunny spells. 

Meanwhile, some 10 flood warnings remained in places across parts of the UK on Friday night, meaning flooding is expected, while the Environment Agency issued a further 24 flood alerts for swathes of the south-west. 

South Wales Police said a 15-year-old girl died following an incident in the River Rhymney in the Llanrumney area of east Cardiff last night.

Emergency services, including a police helicopter, responded to reports of a girl in the river in Ball Lane, Llanrumney, at around 5.20pm.

‘At about 6.40pm a 15-year-old girl was located and despite the best efforts of emergency services she sadly passed away,’ the force said.

It follows Devon and Cornwall Police saying a man, who was in his 50s and from the London area, was pulled from the water near Helston, Cornwall, on Thursday afternoon but was confirmed dead shortly afterwards.

A teenage boy, who is related to the man, is in a stable condition in hospital in Truro following the incident at Church Cove in Gunwalloe, the force added.

A yellow wind warning issued by the Met Office expired on Friday evening, with no further warnings expected over the weekend, according to forecaster Matthew Box.

‘It’s still going to be breezy and blustery tomorrow, but winds will not be as strong as they have been today,’ he said.

Heavy showers could hit parts of central England with the potential for thunder on Saturday, while southern parts of the country are expected to see sunny spells.

Further north it is a ‘mixed bag’ weather-wise, Mr Box said, with some cloudy but also sunny spells towards the east.

The strongest gust recorded on Friday was 71mph at the Needles on the Isle of Wight, while Mumbles Head in Swansea saw winds of up to 68mph.

HM Coastguard urged members of the public to keep their distance from the waves, while the RNLI advised visiting lifeguarded beaches whenever possible and to avoid storm watching if swells become high.

‘The combination of winds, tides and swells is going to make for dangerous conditions that could put you into difficulty very quickly,’ a tweet by the RNLI said.       

Power cuts affected homes in Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan yesterday, while rail services on the Cambrian line between Pwllheli and Machynlleth were halted and replacement buses put on.    

The UK is currently in weed pollen season, which experts warn could raise the risk of asthma attacks.

As a result, asthma sufferers have been warned to stay indoors as forecasts show the pollen count is high in several areas across the UK which, combined with the strong winds, could cause fatal asthma attacks, experts have warned.

This is especially true for asthma sufferers in London, the East of England, Wales and the Midlands.

Although the wind has somewhat subsided through Sunday and is expected to be calmer on Monday, the Met Office has issued yellow warnings for Tuesday and Wednesday across much of the UK south of Manchester.

The body of a man has also been pulled from an area of water in Ainsley Park, Grimsby, after emergency services were called at 11.30 this morning.

An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the death and police would like to locate a woman seen in the area who they believe may be a witness. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting log 285 of 22 August or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. 

The Met Office has warned coastal communities to expect large waves and spray, delays for high-sided vehicles in affected parts of the UK and that bus and train services could be affected.  

The warning comes after a huge rescue operation involving lifeboats from two towns and a coastguard helicopter was launched on Friday to search for two paddleboarders out in Storm Ellen seas – only for them to insist they ‘be allowed to continue.’ 

A crew from Falmouth RNLI were among the volunteers called in after the alarm was raised about the pair who were seen by a member of the public making little headway between Gorran Haven and Mevagissey in Cornwall on Friday.

The incident has prompted the coastguard to say they were very surprised anyone would attempt to cross St Austell Bay on paddle boards in those sea conditions.

A spokesperson for Fowey RNLI, which was also called out, said: ‘At 6pm on Friday, August 21, Fowey RNLI volunteer crew responded to a pager alert for two paddle boarders in distress near Chapel Point, between Gorran Haven and Mevagissey.

‘The sea conditions were difficult, as Storm Ellen which has been making landfall in the UK for the last two days had created strong winds and very large swell.

‘The paddle boarders had been seen making little headway and so the all-weather lifeboat was launched to assist them.’

The first paddle boarder was spotted by crew member Tim Stables in St Austell Bay who told the crew that that he and the other paddle boarder had launched from Gorran Haven and had decided to paddle around to Fowey.

‘He insisted that he was not in distress and that he be allowed to continue to Fowey. The second paddle boarder who was some distance behind was then spotted by crew member James Dowrick after a brief search,’ said the RNLI spokesperson. 

‘Both paddle boarders were subsequently escorted to Fowey and left on Readymoney Beach in Fowey Harbour. 

Lifeboat coxswain Jonathan Pritchard said: ‘All of our volunteer crew performed admirably in very difficult conditions. It was determined that in this case the casualties should be shadowed into Fowey as the sea conditions were very adverse.

‘The RNLI strongly recommends that anyone at sea always wear a lifejacket, carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach and is aware of tides and weather forecasts.’

Mevagissey Coastguard which was also paged said that team members went to high ground to look across the sea and help pinpoint the paddle boarders’ location for the lifeboats from Fowey and Falmouth.

The coastguard helicopter was also despatched.

A spokesperson said: ‘The Fowey lifeboat located two paddle boarders at sea off Gribben Head. They were not in difficulty but making their way from Gorran to Fowey. On paddle boards. At sea. 

‘The lifeboat monitored their safe progress into harbour. The member of the public did exactly the right thing, calling 999 for the Coastguard.

‘Paddle boards are great fun used safely on rivers or near our beaches and coves. But we were very surprised someone would attempt to cross St Austell Bay on paddle boards. Especially with today’s inclement conditions.’

Chief Superintendent Ian Drummond-Smith, police commander for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly described it as a big rescue operation and calling on people to respect the sea.

Britain’s worst storm for six months wreaked havoc in North Devon overnight on Thursday sending beach huts floating out to sea. Footage showed the huts at Woolacombe beach being washed away by the tides while onlookers watched.

About 70 huts, owned by Parkin Estates and mostly rented out to holidaymakers, were dragged down to the sea. Local resident and eyewitness Richard Walden said the sea became a ‘cauldron of debris’.

Mr Walden, whose home overlooks the beach, said they were an ‘iconic’ part of the town’s tourist appeal, adding: ‘Many of the beach huts have literally just been smashed to bits by the waves. It’s unbelievable.’

Bookmaker Coral has made it 6-4 for the wind speed to reach as high as 100mph in the mainland UK this weekend. 

The firm go 5-4 for this month to end as the wettest August on record and 1-2 for this summer to be the wettest ever in the UK.

Coral’s John Hill said: ‘We are set for an unsettled weekend of weather, with our betting suggesting the wind speed could even reach as high as 100mph in some parts of the mainland.

‘This has been one the dampest Augusts since records began and if the rain continues to fall in the closing stages of the month, it may be a record wet one.’

Ellen, which contains remnants of Tropical Storm Kyle, is the first storm named in school summer holidays by the Met Office or Ireland’s Met Eireann since they began naming Atlantic storms in 2015.

Ellen is known as a ‘weather bomb’ by forecasters due to ‘explosive cyclogenesis’ seeing it strengthen as its air pressure plunges more than 24 millibars in 24 hours. The storm’s air pressure fell by 34mb to 965mb in the 24 hours to midnight on Tuesday, Met Office forecasts showed.  

The stormy conditions represent a dramatic turnaround from the extreme heatwave experienced in Britain up until last week which saw temperatures of at least 93F (34C) for six days in a row for the first time on record.

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