Storm Abigail set to batter UK with 80mph gusts

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A storm forecast to batter the UK with gusts of more than 80mph on Thursday night has been named Abigail today as the first in the Met Office’s Name Our Storms project.

Abigail was chosen by the public as part of a scheme to raise awareness of severe weather to help improve safety.

It said the severe south-westerly gales risked disrupting transport and large waves battering coasts.

Gusts of 60-70mph are likely, and more than 80mph in exposed locations.

The warning area covers the Highlands and Islands, the west coast north from Islay, and northern Aberdeenshire. However, Northern England and Wales can expect isolated wind gusts to 85 km/h (50 mph) late Thursday afternoon into Thursday night before subsiding on Friday.

A Met Office spokesman said: “A vigorous depression is expected to pass just to the north west of Scotland on Thursday night, bringing a swathe of very strong winds on its eastern and southern flanks.”

Chief meteorologist Eddy Carroll added: “There remains some uncertainty regarding the exact extent and timing of strongest winds, but current forecasts suggest this storm could have some medium impacts such as disruption to transport, and so a warning has been issued and the first storm has been named as Abigail.”

Rainfall through Friday will be 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) from western Ireland to Western Scotland and also in northwest Wales and coastal northern England. While flooding is not expected to be a widespread concern, isolated flooding is possible.

Ahead of this storm, there will be gusty showers across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and northern England on Wednesday. Even with showers in the forecast, abnormal warmth will continue with high temperatures ranging from 12-16 C (53-60 F).

The other names chosen for storms are Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude, Henry, Imogen, Jake, Katie, Lawrence, Mary, Nigel, Orla, Phil, Rhonda, Steve, Tegan, Vernon and Wendy.