The Highways Agency is advising road users to be cautious as strong winds and heavy rain are forecast across the South West this afternoon and this evening.
The Agency has issued an amber alert, warning drivers in the South West that heavy rain and high winds are forecast later today.
Road users driving high-sided vehicles, riding motorcycles or towing caravans are being urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and to heed any advice such as speed restrictions once they are on the strategic road network.
Met Office forecasters based in the Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre in Birmingham are predicting that heavy rain may produce rainfall accumulations of 20-30mm across many southern parts, with 40mm in some places. Given the already saturated ground, further problems with local flooding are possible.
Very strong south to south-easterly winds of 40-50mph will be prevalent later on Tuesday. These winds are expected to reach 50-60mph late in the afternoon on Tuesday and continuing into the evening, with gusts of 60-70mph likely, mainly along exposed southern coasts.
Gusts may reach 80mph along some exposed southern coastlines, notably Cornwall, South Devon and Dorset. The main time periods for the strongest gusts are likely to be between 3pm and 9pm, with winds easing slightly, but still remaining quite strong throughout the night.
The public should be aware of the risk of disruption from strong winds, which may cause some damage, with disruption due to fallen trees and debris onto roads.
Rob Llewellyn, Highways Agency Emergency Planning Manager in the South West said: “Road users are urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and to heed any advice such as speed restrictions once they are on the strategic road network.
“Be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space. In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close certain bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow the clearly signed diversion routes. “ The Met Office has warned of 30mm of rain and wind speeds up to 80mph from tonight and lasting for at least 24 hours.
Further flooding is expected, particularly in central southern England, and there could be huge waves and high tides, leading to flooding.
“The public should be aware of the risk of disruption from flooding, given the rain falling on to saturated ground” said a spokesman for the Met Office.
“Strong winds may cause some damage with disruption due to falling trees particularly likely. With large waves and high tides, there is a further risk of flooding in some coastal areas.”