Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Storm Gareth and the high tide at Blackpool

Heavy rain and strong winds are hitting parts of the UK as Storm Gareth moves east.

Northern Ireland was the first area to be affected and parts of Scotland and north-west England have seen flooding.

Three yellow Met Office weather warnings are in place until Thursday.

Forecasters said there could be gusts of up to 80mph along coasts in northern England, and there are fears of widespread travel disruption on Wednesday morning.

National Rail warned commuters to expect disruptions on various train lines in Scotland, Wales and northern and eastern England.

BBC Scotland Weather said winds had reached storm force across Argyll with a gust of 75mph at Machrihanish.

Flooding has already affected many parts of Scotland with alerts in place in southern and western areas of Scotland.

The Environment Agency has issued a number of flood warnings, mostly in north west England.

The Met Office has also warned of localised flooding in Cumbria, after heavy rain.

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Media captionOverhead wires tripped out near a train in Saltcoats

It added that the storm brings the risk of damage to buildings, flying debris, large waves, power cuts and travel disruption.

The strong winds are expected to move into England and Wales on Wednesday.

Gusts of up to 50-55mph are likely inland and 65mph along western coasts, forecasters say.

Image copyright The Met Office
Image caption The two warnings for wind – which kicked in on Tuesday afternoon – cover a large part of the UK

The Environment Agency in Yorkshire and the north east of England said rivers will continue to rise, with workers out in Cumbria and Lancashire on Tuesday to try to reduce the risk of flooding.

Gareth is the third storm to be named this year, after Erik in February and Freya earlier this month.

Image copyright smARTindale
Image caption Storm Gareth in Carlyon Bay St Austell, Cornwall

The three yellow “be aware” Met Office warnings in place include:

  • Strong winds across Northern Ireland lasting until 12:00 GMT on Wednesday. Gusts of up to 75mph or even 80mph along northern coasts
  • Strong winds across south west Scotland, England and Wales until 15:00 GMT on Wednesday. Gusts of up to 55mph inland and 65mph along the west coast
  • Heavy rain in north west England – up to 80mm expected in total, or even up to 100mm in higher ground – from 00:15 GMT on Wednesday until 15:00 GMT on Thursday.
Image copyright Andrew Hill/Troggs
Image caption This hardy surfer made the most of the waves in Northern Ireland on Tuesday
Image copyright Mikecadoxton/Weather Watchers
Image caption Waves crashing at a beach in Porthcawl Bridgend, south coast of Wales
Image caption This was the scene in Dumfries as the River Nith flooded its banks
Image copyright PA
Image caption Lorries queue at the entrance to the Port of Dover in Kent due to bad weather

Ferries hit

In Wales, the M48 Severn Bridge linking Monmouthshire and south west England has re-opened to all vehicles after it was closed for four hours on Tuesday.

Ferry services between Pembroke and Rosslare and Holyhead Dublin were affected.

In Northern Ireland, the City of Derry Airport warned passengers to expect disruptions to flights.

P&O ferries said sailings between Dublin and Liverpool have been cancelled because of the weather.

The company has advised Larne to Cairnryan passengers to rearrange travel if they can as “delays/cancellations are likely later”.

Image caption A tree downed by the wind in Nelson Drive, Londonderry
Image copyright Ali McCrossan
Image caption Waves battered the Portaferry Road on the Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland

Elsewhere, Brittany Ferries from Plymouth to Roscoff, and the returning ferry due to depart on Wednesday, have been cancelled due to weather conditions.

South Western Railway said speed restrictions may be imposed in coastal areas.

A flood warning has been issued for Scarborough, and members of the public have been told to be careful along beaches, coastal footpaths and roads with the risk of large waves and sea spray.

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