Drivers warned of seasonal storms

Motorists have been warned to prepare for torrential rain and gale force winds during their Christmas car journeys.

The Met Office has predicted that Storm Barbara will bring winds of up to 90mph will gust through northern and western parts of Scotland, including Inverness and Fort William, on Friday and have issued an amber ‘be prepared’ weather warning.

Drivers will be making 28 million Christmas car journeys on major roads this year and research by RAC Traffic Watch suggests that Christmas Eve will be the busiest day, with 3.8m journeys planned.

Both 23 December and Christmas Day are expected to see a similar level of traffic, totalling some 3.5m separate journeys on each day.

RAC Traffic Watch spokesman Rod Dennis said, ‘The weather is taking a decided turn for the worse as we near Christmas itself, and drivers are going to need to be on their guard. Heavy downpours and extremely gusty winds will join forces to make the going tough for anyone driving on Friday especially. Early indications are that more storms could also roll in in the days to come.

‘Anyone wanting to avoid the worst conditions on the roads should look for the calmer weather windows – right now, Thursday and the afternoon of Christmas Eve look better, but we urge drivers to keep a close eye on the forecast and plan any longer trips carefully.’

Heavy rain and blustery weather is also expected in the southern and eastern part of the UK over Friday, but conditions are set to improve on Saturday and Sunday.