STORM Francis has hit the UK, leaving drivers battling through flash floods and with more torrential rain on way.
A 700 mile-wide ‘Canadian low pressure vortex’ is bringing 70mph winds and some of the worst school summer holidays weather for 50 years.
Forecasters are predicting heavy rainfall – up to 3.5 inches in places – during a 36-hour weather window.
Drivers in London were forced to negotiate torrents of water on the road as Storm Francis arrived with avengence in the early evening on Monday.
Eight flood alerts are already in place in England and Wales and ten in Scotland.
Shredded tents, blackouts and travel problems from toppled trees and floods are risks as millions are on UK breaks away from home, amid wind gusts usually seen in winter.
The Met Office has issued a new wind warning for all of Wales and most of England until Wednesday, as well as two heavy rain warnings for southern Scotland, north Wales and northern England.
Chief Meteorologist Andy Page said: “The UK is in for another unseasonably wet and windy spell with Storm Francis arriving on Tuesday.
“There will be strong winds and heavy rain, especially in the west of the UK.”
Storm Francis is expected to clear by Wednesday lunchtime, leaving a brighter and more settled outlook for the remainder of the day, the Met Office said.
After Francis’ two-day buffeting, more wet and windy conditions follow from Thursday into the Bank Holiday weekend, when the Met Office is even forecasting summer frost, most likely in the North.
The arrival of storm Francis follows a similar period of unseasonable weather towards the end of last week, coinciding with the arrival of Storm Ellen.
Nicola Williams, 15, was swept to her death in the Rhymney River in Llanrumney, Cardiff, and a 50-year-old holidaymaker die in the sea near Helston, west Cornwall, after getting into difficulties.
Nicola Maxey of the Met Office said: “Since 2015 when we started naming storms, we have never had to name a storm in August – and now we’ve had two in a few days.
“There are a lot of people on holiday in the UK at the moment, going camping and on walking breaks, many in coastal locations where the winds are likely to be stronger, so it is worth checking on the Met Office website ahead of time.”
Forecasters said the winds were “unusual” for August, but would have to go some way to beat the current record wind gust speed of 87mph recorded at The Needles on the Isle of Wight in August 1996.
Likewise, the wettest August on record in the UK was in 1912 when 167.3 mm was recorded across the country as a whole.
Between August 1 and 22, the UK as a whole had seen some 72.7mm of rainfall – around four-fifths of the average rainfall for the month.